El Caribe

Education will deliver 9 million textbooks for the initial and primary levels

The Ministry of Education will deliver this Friday 9,167,950 textbooks for the initial and primary levels. Of these 6,732,626 will be printed and 2,435,324 in digital format.

Last year, the Minister of Education, Roberto Fulcar, reported that in this year 2022 textbooks would be available. This Friday, February 18, National Student Day, the MINERD dispatches to the 18 regions and 122 school districts more than nine million books for primary and secondary education.

Since 2013, in the Ministry of Education, efforts have been initiated to achieve a review and update of the curriculum. This curricular revision implied in turn a necessary revision of Ordinance 06-2003, which governed everything related to the evaluation of means and resources for learning, but this was not carried out.

Later, based on that ordinance, procedures would be initiated to evaluate the textbooks that would enter the system. Within its articles, said ordinance clearly established that, if the curriculum changed, the textbooks alike had to do so.

However, two years later, in 2015, two ordinances were approved that revised, updated and validated the Early Childhood Education and Primary Education curriculum. However, Ordinance 06-2003 was still intact, without being examined, despite the transformations that the curriculum had undergone. The curriculum was changed, but not the books.

It is not until 2017 that Ordinance 06-2003 is updated and modified, resulting in Ordinance 26-2017, which regulates the evaluation of the means and resources for learning, containing the modifications that should guide the preparation of the textbooks.

Said Ordinance enters into force in April 2018, when the first call is made for the presentation of textbooks by publishing companies.

The Ministry of Education called for a national public tender and declared it special to be able to modify the times granted by the ordinance itself, and thus speed up the purchase of books.

The presentation of models was made on May 25 of the same year 2018 and these were processed to the General Directorate of Curriculum, where on July 28 the first evaluation results of the 373 models submitted to evaluation were issued, from all areas.

On August 12 of that same year, the 373 models were received for reevaluation, a process that lasted 10 days, then entering a lethargy that lasted until May 2020, when what was appropriate was to continue with the approval of the books by the Council. National Education.

In 2020, the MINERD establishes an agreement with the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI) to re-evaluate textbooks. Thirty-five days later, the OEI delivers the reports to the Vice Ministry of Financial Management of the MINERD.

The two evaluations yielded different results, but the steps were not taken with those reports received, and thus the government transition came in August 2020, with two evaluations and none applied.

The new management, as soon as it began, launched actions in order to guarantee textbooks for students.

Later it was established that the evaluation reports did not correspond to the codes that were in the custody of the Ministry of Education, which forced the current administration to seek a way out of this situation with the corresponding agencies, which became in a call to all participating publishers, so that they could identify their texts and thus be able to compare the OEI reports with the codes of the models, and finally deliver them to their respective owners.

Due to its nature, this process took a long time, since great care was required to avoid the mistake of submitting one report for another, in the case of 373 different reports to analyze, do it efficiently and transparently, which was valued as a successful strategy to minimize the agony of the moment and the anxiety that this brought both to the booksellers and to MINERD itself and to the educational community.

Once everything was organized and a way out of this labyrinth was found, the regulatory legal procedures were carried out, which consisted of meeting with the National Council of Education on June 18, 2021 to approve, as established by Law 66-97, the bibliography of the texts to be used in public and private education.

Immediately, after the decision of the National Council of Education, the Purchasing Department and the educational levels involved, which at that time were Initial and Primary, were instructed to proceed according to the legal mechanisms established in the Public Purchasing and Contracting Law with the purpose of acquiring the printed books.

The legal part included consultation with the Department of Public Procurement and Contracting, so that it could guide the implementation of an exception process due to exclusivity due to the number of participants.

This tour entailed the preparation of the specifications and the technical sheet, definition of the reference price, the quotes of the texts, the publication for questions and answers, the approval of the specifications by the Purchasing Committee, culminating in the adjudication, which which took more than 90 days, in such a way as to comply with all the mandates of the law, without violating any stage of the process.

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