Kenya: Longhorn Publishers Recalls Grade 2 Book Which Asks Pupils to 'Kill Themselves'

15 February 2020

Longhorn Publishers has recalled and apologised for using terms that might cause pupils to commit suicide.

The book, Smart Score Encyclopedia Grade 2 Volume 1 asks questions and gives two examples of what the child should do. In this case, one of the answers controversially suggests that they should end their lives.

One of the questions asks, "Alice says she looks bad. What should you tell her? (God loves her, To kill herself)."

In another question it asks, Lucy and Margret are sisters. Lucy is loved more by her parents. What should Margret do? A) Kill herself or B) Do what her parents want.

In a statement, Longhorn Publishers said they had noted the concern raised in regards to one of their school books.

"We acknowledge the query and take full responsibility and that in this instance we failed. For this, we are extremely sorry," the statement signed by Group Chief Executive Officer Maxwell Wahome read in part.

Wahome added that they take matters regarding mental health seriously and they would never wish for their products to be considered to be encouraging suicide among learners.

"We have recalled the books from the market and corrective steps are already in place to ensure that the situation does not happen again," said Wahome.

In 2018, Jomo Kenyatta Foundation was forced to recall its Grade Two English textbook following criticism over questionable content containing text and an illustration, where the topic is an MP's chopper landing in a school.

In May, the East African Educational Publishers was forced to explain that an image of a page of its Kiswahili Angaza Gredi 1 book that is incorrectly labelled, and which was being shared on social media, was fake.

The image on the purported page 107 of the book contained a mislabelled name of a body part in a figure.

In March last year, various errors were detected in the Sh7.5 billion Form One textbooks. The errors were detected in English, Kiswahili, Biology and Physics books.

Some of glaring mistakes included a mix-up of the content ideas, spelling mistakes and poor arrangement of topics.

Last year, Text Book Centre Limited said that it would no longer stock 'Blood Ties', a book by Storymoja Publishers, that was heavily criticized for using explicit and foul language.

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