28 April 2003

Uganda: MK Publishers Move to Nairobi

Kampala — MK PUBLISHERS, a local publishing firm in Uganda, whose books were all rejected in cycle nine by the Ministry of Education, has won a tender to supply eight titles for six courses in Kenya.

According to MK Publishers Marketing Manager, Robert Mulumba, six of the titles are for lower primary while two of them are for upper primary.

The books for upper primary, Christian Religious Education (CRE) and Islamic Religious Education (IRE) were part of the Religious Education book that was rejected in Cycle nine.

The MK Primary English for primary one was also rejected in cycle eight due to pricing. All the other titles were considered.

Cycle eight was looking for books for primary one to four, while cycle nine was looking for books for primary five to seven.

For the six courses of English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, CRE and IRE, MK Publishers submitted tittles for Standard one and Standard five.

Apart from CRE and IRE that made it through for standard one and standard five, the rest of the titles made it for standard one.

The Kenya government put up an advert calling for bids about July last year. MK Publishers through their partner publishers, Phoenix Publishers Ltd in Kenya, submitted 18 tittle (14 for primary education and four for secondary education). None of the secondary titles went through.

"We developed books specifically for the Kenyan syllabus," says Ronald Kironde, the MK Publishers general manager.

Kironde told Education Vision that six months to submit tenders was a short time, "but it involved a lot of hard work. People worked from 8.00am to midnight everyday."

He says they have a pool of authors that have been writing books for the Ugandan curriculum so all they did was to get Kenyan counterparts to interpret a few things specific to Kenya.

"These curriculum are not totally different," observes Kironde. "Some topics are cross cutting. We had the Ugandan version, which we had to adapt for the Kenya curriculum."

MK Publishers will now supply these books for the next four years in Kenya.

Mulumba is excited about the whole project. "We feel very great because we are the only Ugandan local publishing firm, which managed to go through," he says.

"We are targeting supplying books to the whole Great Lakes region. The success has not come as a surprise, because even before the tender was advertised, our books published in Uganda, especially MK Mathematics 2000 had a very high demand in the neighbouring countries," says Mulumba.

The publishing house, which started in 1995, has been steadily growing. In 2001, the MK publishers managing director, Samuel Majwega Musoke, won an award as best businessman of the year.

The National Enterprise Award is an annual award that is organised by the New Vision and the Rotary club of Kampala.

MK Publishers has also written some books for Rwanda and is planning to write some for Tanzania.

Even as they plan, Mulumba says the books are already being used in these countries.

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