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The findings > Thematic Studies> Textbooks and Learning Materials > Part 4
  Country EFA reports
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IV. REGIONAL DEVELOPMENTS
 
The following pages summarize detailed reports prepared by regional consultants for this study. Unfortunately, not all regional reports were received when the survey was completed. The authors of the full reports were: for South Asia, Dr Abul Hasan ( Director, Afro-Asian Book Council); for Central Asia and Caucasus and for Central and Eastern Europe, Dr Frances Pinter (Executive Director of the Center for Publishing Development), and Snejana Slantcheva, (Policy Fellow, both of the Open Society Institute, Budapest); for the Pacific Islands, Linda Crowl (Publications Fellow of the Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific, Fiji); for the anglophone Caribbean, Ian Randle (Managing Director of Ian Randle Publishers, Kingston, Jamaica). Cheryll Stringer analysed the responses to the ADEA/UNESCO questionnaire from Africa. The last five paragraphs of the report on the Pacific Islands are based on a report by Don Long (Learning Media, New Zealand).
 
South Asia
 

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka South Asia is a large subcontinent encompassing tiny, isolated states and the world's second most populous country, differing political systems and economic development, multilingual, bilingual, and unilingual countries, and wide differences in the level of literacy, book production, and educational development. With the breakdown of traditional support networks, increased mobility, and urbanization, there is increasing demand for literacy. All the countries place an emphasis on primary education, and in most of them textbooks are provided free of charge. Yet 38% of South Asia's children do not reach grade 5, despite high primary-level enrolments.

In Bangladesh, universal primary education is free and compulsory, and textbooks are supplied to students free of charge. Work books, teachers' guides, and other learning materials are, however, reported to be in short supply. Textbooks are written by staff of the National Curriculum and Textbook Board, which also contracts their production and sells them to government. Financial allocations to education rose 46% between 1995-6 and 1999-2000, in part with the help of international loans, and free books were extended to adult literacy centres. Bangladesh is the only country in South Asia with a national book policy, but the committee entrusted to implement it has never met and the plan remains a blueprint. Books are produced in substantial numbers - some 9,300 textbooks and other educational materials at all levels in 1996 - but the quality is poor and most publishers concentrate on the higher secondary and tertiary levels and on cheap guides to passing examinations. Professional skills are not highly developed. Many books are published by the authors themselves. There is no copyright protection and few libraries. Voluntary organizations and CSOs promote readership and non-formal education.

Bhutan, the least developed country in South Asia, provides free education to grade 10. The traditional monastic education is based largely on oral communication and does not support a reading/writing culture, and the fact that English is the official language impedes writing and publishing in the national language, Dzongkha. Bhutan is reported to have published only 32 books in 1998. Most of the people who can read are first-generation literates. The Ministry of Health and Education has developed textbooks up to grade 8; for higher grades textbooks are imported from India. Supplies of textbooks, work books, and teachers' guides are adequate but their printing costs are high and delivery is difficult to remote areas. The government has been providing textbooks free of charge, but in an effort to reduce costs is gradually withdrawing its support for them and stationery from schools in urban and better-off areas. To encourage post-literacy and continuing education, the government has produced readers in English and Dzongkha, and with UNICEF support sponsors an annual National Reading Week and Book Fair.

Nepal, which also has free compulsory primary education, provides free textbooks - in general, for boys to grade 3 and for girls to grade 5. Parents must first buy the books, however, and then obtain reimbursement. The system penalizes poor families, and some prescribed books do not qualify for reimbursement. The curriculum and textbooks are in Nepali, which presents difficulties for the 48% of the population for whom it is not the first language. Textbooks for the public system are produced and distributed by state agencies. Private schools may use commercially published textbooks as reference materials. Some private publishers and social organizations, including the Nepalese Society for Children's Literature, are publishing children's books, but the country depends largely on book imports.

The Copyright Act, introduced in 1965, is ineffective and outdated, and the National Book Development Board has never met.

India is second only to the USA and UK in the production of English-language books and has a vigorous publishing industry in 17 other languages. The educational system that must be supplied with learning materials is massive - 227 universities, 9,278 colleges, 98,134 high schools, 171,216 middle schools, and 590,421 primary schools. Enrolment at the primary level alone is 100 million. A process of devolution from the central government to the states is almost complete. Under it, the state governments will produce nearly all the textbooks, work books, and teachers' guides for primary schools and the majority of textbooks for secondary and senior secondary schools. The goal is to provide the books at an affordable price, which the private sector failed to do. Private schools draw on both locally produced and imported books. Tertiary-level texts are for the most part published locally, but postgraduate and research needs are met mainly by importation.

The Republic of Maldives has a total population of well under 300,000 persons, living on 199 coral islands with a land area of about 300 km2. The only bookstores are in the capital, Malé, and transportation between the islands is poor. None the less, the overall literacy rate is 98.8%, and 99.3% for females. Book production is expensive as a result of the small market and dependence on imported materials. Textbooks are produced and subsidized by the government. There is a serious shortage of learning materials in the local languages. There are few local writers, especially in the national language Dhivehi, and to encourage them the government holds writing competitions, including some for children's literature. Most of the libraries are concentrated in Malé but some atolls have school libraries and community reading centres.

Pakistan's textbooks have long been produced by the four provincial textbook boards, but the market has recently been opened to competition from private sources. Other categories of learning materials have been neglected. There is a shortage of school and public libraries and an imbalance between educational and general publishing: textbooks account for some 70% of the total book production. Special efforts are being made, with the UNESCO office in Pakistan, to educate the children of refugees from Afghanistan, where the education system is in disarray.

In Sri Lanka, the government is responsible for supplying free textbooks for grades 1 to 11, but does so in collaboration with the private sector. Some 35 commercial publishing houses are active as well as the state's Educational Publications Department. The National Book Development Council is a permanent body attached to the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, and the industry enjoys an "approved undertaking" status that secures for it special benefits. A World Bank/IDA book development project, just under way, includes the rewriting of some 220 textbooks, the establishment of 2,000 new school libraries and the improvement of 1,000 existing ones, and the training of authors, illustrators, book designers, librarians, and other personnel.

 
Central Asia and Caucasus
 

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan

Like most of the former republics of the Soviet Union, the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus are in the midst of a major transition from one social/political/economic system to another on an unprecedented scale. Although the transformation seems frustratingly slow, it is happening at breakneck speed compared to most other historical change. Economic decline, inflation, shortage or under-use of national resources, and lack of finances are often accompanied by armed political disputes over territorial possession within or amongst countries. Deteriorating social conditions and poverty are widespread.

The system of education that prevailed under communism was hierarchical, facts-based and discouraged innovative teaching, individual questioning, and critical thinking. There is no longer consensus on what aspects of education, and in particular textbooks, are required. The countries are having difficulty breaking away from the old system in which, typically, a pedagogical institute within the Ministry of Education wrote the textbooks, evaluated them, and approved them. Systems of open and fair competition, encouraging good new authors, have been difficult to introduce. Independent, objective evaluation has also proved difficult to establish.

 
Table 11. Public expenditure on education in Central Asia (not available)
 

The financing of textbooks in countries that are no longer able to supply them free of charge has presented a challenge for ministries and funding agencies. Previously books were produced with low grade paper and binding, which was considered adequate because they were given new to pupils each year. Funding agencies are urging the adoption of loan or rental schemes, which are more economical but require better-quality books, and there is not enough experience to know how well they will work in these countries.

The process of dismantling state-owned monopolies in textbook publishing is incomplete. In most countries the state-owned company still occupies a preferred position and benefits from the advantages of hidden subsidies. In some countries the state company has been privatized or has built up a parallel private company into which it has tipped all its resources, thereby maintaining an advantage over the smaller publishers.

Fewer than 10% of schools have computers. Supplementary materials such as maps, atlases, and reference works are in short supply, not only from lack of funds but because of needed change in content. For example, there is still no widely accepted history of Central Asia; the facts, not to mention interpretation, are still the subject of heated debate. The introduction of new materials is further hampered by the legacy of an ideology that stressed the existence of one truth. More traditional educators are still searching for the definitive textbook that will replace the old one that is now in disrepute.

Although the situation varies from country to country, and more so from rural to urban areas within each country, financing of education in all the republics has been reduced - a result of economic collapse together with the transition to a market-based economy (Table 11). Salaries absorb most of what is available at the expense of other recurring expenses. All schools are under-funded with resulting deterioration of facilities, lack of materials, and underpaid teachers. Rural schools are suffering much more than urban schools.

The shortage of textbooks and other learning materials ranges from significant to critical. Their provision has been affected by bureaucratic inertia and inexperience in operating under the new economic conditions, the abrupt interruption of economic and cultural contacts with the former USSR, a continuing dependence upon books published and printed in Russia, state monopolies in educational publishing and printing, outdated and unreliable printing equipment, and the need to import all the paper and most of the materials required to manufacture books. Education in Armenia and Azerbaijan suffered further from the war between the two countries, and, in Armenia, from a devastating earthquake in 1988. Both Armenia and Georgia are facing an energy crisis, which paralyses Georgia for six months each year. Kazakhstan, the second largest of the former soviet republics, must deal with the problems of a vast country with an ethnically mixed population, mostly rural. Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan were left isolated and socially impoverished by the breakup of the USSR, compounded in Tajikistan by civil war.

Even in Uzbekistan, where the proportional decline in funding may not seem substantial, the public system of education, enrolling approximately 5 million students in more than 9,300 public schools, is under stress. The situation is especially critical in rural areas. Very little equipment can be found, except in the specialized schools and selective lycées/gymnasia, and almost no books, maps, atlases, or reference books. The textbook situation is particularly critical in Turkmenistan, which has stopped all co-operation with Russia in this area and, consequently, all import and sale of Russian textbooks.

State publishing and printing houses have reduced the amount and the quality of their production. Armenia, which, with Georgia, was in the first rank among former soviet republics in educational achievement, has managed to renew more than half the textbooks planned for primary and secondary schools, but further provision has been blocked by lack of funds. Georgia has also revised more than half its school books in the last five years, but the new materials are rather scarce and some subjects are still taught with soviet manuals. Kyrgyzstan has met the present need for textbooks in almost half its schools, but lacks manuals and other training materials. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are unable to meet the textbook needs covered until recently from Moscow and continue to use some of the old soviet textbooks. In Mongolia, new textbooks are being produced only for grade 1. In Uzbekistan schools are still using textbooks published in 1989-90. Schools there have libraries, sometimes with one or two librarians; however, few students use them and the majority of the collections are class sets of textbooks. A recent decision to remove some of the soviet books from libraries has exacerbated the situation. In Tajikistan, as a consequence of civil war, schools have been destroyed, damaged, and closed; new textbooks have been prepared but have not been published.

Families are required to buy secondary-level textbooks in Georgia, but students prefer to use old books and, according to unofficial data, about 30% of new school books remained unsold in 1997. Armenia and Azerbaijan distribute some books for free, but some estimates suggest that only one-third of the Azerbaijani students in grades 1 to 4 who are entitled to receive free books actually do so and such books, marked "free of charge" on the back cover, are readily for sale on the street. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and Uzbekistan provide textbooks free for the year, on the understanding that they will be returned. In Tajikistan, secondary school textbooks, which were previously given free to students, are sold in bookshops and markets at high prices.

Almost all countries in the region have attempted major curriculum reforms over the past several years but there has been little actual change. Educational systems, inherited from the soviet period, remain highly centralized. Many textbooks published during the soviet period are still used even when they are at odds with new curricula.

Most of the countries have replaced Russian as the language of instruction with their new official languages (Azeri, Turkmen, Kazakh, Uzbek, and Kyrgyz). Nevertheless, because many teachers are more fluent in Russian, and because it has not yet been possible to publish and distribute enough instructional materials in many local languages, Russian remains a major vehicle of instruction. Many of the new textbooks that have been published are simply translated literally from the original Russian. The change in language in many cases involves a change in alphabet, further complicating production of new titles.

In general, book publication in the region has decreased significantly over the last few years. Separation from the former Soviet Union has disrupted the supply of printing materials and equipment, and increased costs. Only Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan produce their own paper, and that in limited quantities. Elsewhere, printers face high paper costs and irregular delivery. Customs duties in general are high on imported raw materials and low on imported printed materials, to the detriment of local production. Those countries close to Russia still import many textbooks from there, although that source has been reduced by a serious drop within Russia of book production. Private publishers are small and short of capital. In some countries they are impeded by complex systems for ordering and distribution, restrictions on the markup they are permitted, and slow payment of government accounts. The physical quality of learning materials is often low. Textbooks do not last long; illustrations are often unclear and diagrams unreadable.

The people involved in planning and managing textbook provision are basically the same today as they were before independence and the same old way of management and work prevail. Training in writing, translating, publishing, printing, and distribution is badly needed.

Funding agencies and donors are working to relieve the publishing crisis, among them the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the Soros Foundation, the Open Society Institute, USAID, and the British Know How Fund. Programs vary from pilot to extensive in nature, from textbook provision to training, from national to subnational. In Armenia, for example, the World Bank has a three-year $8 million program that involves the publication of about 120 new textbooks, in all subjects and levels, alongside a new textbook rental scheme. In Azerbaijan, the Bank's program is addressed to refugee resettlement and concentrates on damaged areas. In Mongolia, the Asian Development Bank is funding curriculum development at the secondary level; that country has also received printing equipment from Denmark, Germany, Korea, and Japan. In Kazakhstan, the Soros Foundation is running various regional programs alongside World Bank activities, including school grants and training of authors and publishers. In Uzbekistan the Asian Development Bank is supporting a major project for curriculum and textbook development at the primary level.

 
Pacific Islands
 

Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Most of the 13 countries of the Pacific Islands report that they do not have enough textbooks, work books, and teachers' guides, particularly in vernacular languages. Availability varies from country to country and within countries. There are significant differences in provision of books between urban and non-urban areas, capital city islands and outer islands. Photocopying of books is common where the machines are available, which is not generally true. All countries practise central procurement of textbooks and learning materials, but the cost of bidding documents effectively precludes participation by local booksellers.

Geography, population, and economics all impede the provision of textbooks and learning materials, and particularly materials developed to meet local needs and produced locally. With the exception of Papua New Guinea, the countries are small, even minuscule: Nauru and Niue consist of one island each, comprising 21 km2 and 259 km2 respectively. Papua New Guinea has a population of nearly 4.8 million, but the populations of Niue and Tokelau are only 2,100 and 1,500. Those two small countries have negative growth rates because of high migration. The countries are geographically isolated and communication within them is onerous. Kiribati consists of 33 islands totalling 719 km2 scattered across three time zones and two days. In Papua New Guinea, mountain ranges make air the only practical means of transport to the interior. Throughout the region, air freight is expensive.

Incomes in the area are generally low, and even where they are higher, as in Papua New Guinea, there are vast disparities. Low levels of income result in small tax bases for schools and libraries and limited financing for publishing ventures. External aid often favours expatriate authors, editors, illustrators, typesetters, printers, and publishers.

All the countries have been colonies, except Tonga which was a protectorate of Great Britain. Samoa became independent in 1962 and was followed by the other countries except Tokelau, which is a territory of New Zealand. The Cook Islands and Niue remain politically associated with New Zealand, and the Marshall Islands remain so with the United States. The long period of colonization followed by continuing relationships with large metropolitan countries have resulted in the use of foreign languages, foreign priorities in education, foreign agenda-setting backed by foreign economic power, and a shortage of books in local languages.

Tokelau and Niue have enough English books but not enough books in Tokelauan or Niuean. Fiji has enough teachers' guides for English, but not always enough textbooks and work books, nor does it have enough books in vernacular languages. Locally produced books in Fiji Baat, a form of Hindi, are rare because Hindi books can be imported inexpensively from India. In Vanuatu, the official languages of instruction are English and French (a legacy of two colonial rulers) but in practice Bislama - a pidgin and the national language - is often used, although there is little material available in it.

Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, and Tonga have one vernacular language. The Cook Islands have two (Maori and Pukapukan) as does Tuvalu (Tuvaluan and Kiribati). Fiji has four: Fijian, Hindi, Rotuman, and Chinese. Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea have 64, 108, and 869 respectively. For some of these languages, the only reading material is religious in nature. Under a new curriculum in Papua New Guinea, the first three years of school must be taught in the vernacular language of the particular area. Some of these languages do not yet have an orthography. The publication of books in vernacular languages by nationals of the countries concerned has been encouraged by, among others, the Institute of Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific.

Reference books are given low priority and the shortage in schools is serious. Those schools with libraries have some reference books (although they are often out of date and sometimes wrong), but not all schools have libraries. The majority of schools in the Cook Islands, Kiribati, and Niue have libraries. Some schools in the other countries have libraries. The vast majority of schools in Papua New Guinea do not. The countries generally have established networks of public libraries, but access to them varies between and within countries: the three main libraries of the Cook Islands, for example, are within 200 metres of one another.

Supplementary reading materials are available in the market and in some schools. Children's fiction, especially for very young children, is improving in quantity and quality, but most is in English or, in Vanuatu, French. Books in vernacular languages are less common, though ministries of education, the Institute of Education at the University of the South Pacific, and religious groups such as the Summer Institute of Linguistics produce books in local languages. Costs remain high, particularly for low-income countries. Non-fiction for children is increasing in quantity and quality very slowly.

Educational audio and video tapes are scarce, and many schools in the region lack power. Multimedia learning packages and science kits are available in some schools but in general there is a great shortage, with significant differences between schools and between urban and rural areas. Fiji, however, has placed science kits in 500 elementary schools and plans to do so in its remaining 198 schools in the next two years. Posters, wall charts, and maps are donated by international and regional organizations and national governments but in insufficient numbers and there are marked differences in availability between urban and rural areas and between capital and outer islands.

All aspects of the book chain need attention. A considerable number of training workshops have been held in writing and editing, but little attention has been paid to distribution.

Representatives of the 13 countries undertook to promote book policies and councils during the Biennial Meeting of the Directors of Education and the UNESCO Office for the Pacific States held in November 1998. However, the only country with a book policy is Papua New Guinea, which faces by far the greatest challenges in book provision. Its National Policy on Information and Communication strives to develop a national distribution system, a national clearing house for domestically published books, publicity for government books, support for all aspects of the book chain, a subsidy on air freight to publishers and printers, and strategies for cooperation. Its Book Week and Literacy Week promote writing competitions, book sales, and public readings.

The difficulties of small populations and limited resources are being overcome in some countries through regional cooperation in the production of early literary resources. Fiji and New Zealand are involved in much of what is happening, often in close cooperation. New Zealand's involvement is the result, in no small measure, of its own indigenous and immigrant Polynesian populations. About one-third of children in New Zealand are Polynesian - New Zealand Maori, Samoan, Cook Islands Maori, Tongan, Niuean, or Tokelauan. More Tokelauans, Niueans, and Cook Islanders live in New Zealand than in Tokelau, Niue, or the Cook Islands, and for every two children at school in Samoa another Samoan child lives in New Zealand. It is estimated that by about 2050 New Zealanders of Polynesian ancestry will form a majority of the population.

Teachers' guides and learning materials in the languages of these countries are still in seriously short supply within New Zealand. In 1989, however, the country began a period of curriculum reform that allows Pacific Islands children the right to use their language as an integral part of their schooling and all children the right to learn Pacific Islands languages if they wish. Bilingual education became a school-by-school decision. The Ministry of Education began publishing in Pacific Islands languages for early childhood centres and schools in 1976, and in large numbers from 1989 through contracts with a parastatal, Learning Media. At present a new title is added, on average, about every 11 days. The books in early reading, and in some other subjects at the primary level, are not traditional textbooks but what might elsewhere be called supplementary readers, scarcely different from the children's books to be found in stores. This approach lends itself particularly well to multilingual publication.

Samoa, Tokelau, Niue, and the Cook Islands all currently use Pacific Islands language resources developed by the New Zealand Ministry of Education, and Tonga is considering doing so. New Zealand, in turn, uses resources in its schools originally developed by the Departments of Education in Samoa, Tuvalu, and Tokelau, and has purchased resource development services from the Departments of Education in Niue, the Cook Islands, and Tonga. As a result, five small island states have gained access to the full-colour books normally associated with more developed countries and New Zealand has gained a level of language expertise that immigrant communities cannot always provide on their own. There are only 6,000 Tokelauans in the world, yet the New Zealand government publishes a new book for children, in full-colour, in Tokelauan about every eight weeks.

Learning Media was created in 1989 when the School Publications Branch of the New Zealand Ministry of Education was transformed into a government-owned but commercially oriented educational publishing company which bids for work from its own and other ministries of education. It also publishes works in its own right. Since 1989 it has won contracts to publish Pacific Islands language resources for the ministries or institutes of education in Tokelau, Tuvalu, Niue, Fiji, and Samoa, and has recently quoted on work for the ministries of education in Vanuatu, the Marshall Islands, Tonga, and Hawaii. With the Institute of Education at the University of the South Pacific, a regional institution, it has run workshops and publishes Pacific Literacy, a 30-book series which forms the basis for the first three years in primary school literacy programs in a growing number of church and state school systems. With UNESCO support the partners will publish Pacific Science, a 42-book early science series, in 2000.

The full-colour but low-cost literacy series is printed on rugged paper with rust-resistant staples to survive tropical island conditions. By printing the same book in several languages, with only the black plates for text changed for each edition, print runs can be high and costs per copy accordingly low. A full-colour book in a local language costs no more than what some countries in the region would pay per copy for black and white, poorly illustrated books printed on non-durable grades of paper. Each book is accompanied by teachers' materials that typically include an English translation, notes on cultural elements in the story, information about the author and illustrator, an explanation of where the material fits in the curriculum, and some suggested teaching activities. Competing books from the USA, UK, and Australia have no Pacific content or authorship and their guides do not reflect the realities of classroom conditions in the Pacific.

 
Africa
 

Botswana, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sénégal, São Tomé e Principe, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

The countries of Africa have appeared many times in this survey as examples, and over the years that continent has attracted more donor interest than any other and more documentation of its textbook shortage and attempts to alleviate that shortage. Rather than repeat themes from Parts II and III, here is a snapshot of Africa as it seemed in 1999 to educators, publishers, and consultants familiar with its educational system. The information is based on 126 responses, from the 26 countries listed above, to the ADEA/UNESCO survey. Not all the respondents answered all the questions. The opinions do not always coincide with trends identified in Part III.

Ninety per cent (103) of those responding to a question about book shortage in their country considered it serious. The nine who did not regard it as serious overall said it was serious in rural areas or for pre-primary and tertiary-level books that had to be imported. Thirty-six said the book shortage was a result of poverty. The same number blamed inadequate government funding and planning in the light of increased school enrolments. Thirty said a weak local publishing industry was responsible. Twenty blamed government policies - monopoly publishing of textbooks, lack of co-ordination with funding agencies, and taxes on printing materials. Others cited high levels of illiteracy, lack of a book-buying culture, high costs of production, inadequate book distribution systems, and the scarcity of bookshops, especially in rural areas. Some suggested that teaching styles perpetuated the book famine by focusing on a single textbook and examinations.

 
Table 12. Proportion of respondents who said there was a serious shortage in textbooks and learning materials (N = 103) not available
 

More than 90% of respondents identified serious shortages in textbooks and learning materials of one kind or another (Table 12). The overwhelming majority believed that decentralization was a positive move, although a number seemed to be talking about the theoretical benefits rather than from experience. The advantages mentioned were largely related to school empowerment in the selection of books and the encouragement of bookselling if books were bought locally. Most respondents favoured a centralized approval process, but thought there should be a wide selection of approved titles from which schools could select. Many were concerned about the means of distribution, which some regarded as so inadequate as to outweigh the benefits of local selection; 85 considered the distribution system in their country as very weak or non-existent. Others were worried that school officials would be unprepared to select books and that corruption would simply move from the central to the local level.

Only about three-quarters of the respondents answered a question about training, but of those who did more than 95% felt that all aspects of the book chain had been neglected and needed attention. The training of teachers in the use of textbooks was given a high priority. Most respondents agreed that the printing industry in their countries was better developed than book publishing, but that more training was needed.

Almost all the respondents rejected free provision of textbooks. The major reasons were: (1) there is no such thing as a "free" book because someone has to pay; (2) the provision of free books has no place in a free-market environment; (3) free textbooks undermine the bookselling component of the book chain; (4) free books are not properly valued or cared for. Most people, however, recognized that poor families would not be able to afford to pay the full cost of books. The following remedies were suggested: subsidies to reduce the price; tax benefits, removal of duties, and other national strategies to reduce the cost of publishing; book loan or rental schemes; targeted supply of free books to those most in need; community participation in the establishment of community libraries; community education in the value and care of books.

A question about the use of local languages drew 106 responses. Eight people questioned the need for reading material in local languages, which in some countries are regarded as inferior and of little practical use for educational and economic advancement. There was also concern that the favouring of one language over others would be seen as a political statement. About 20% of respondents said that there would be no demand for books in local languages unless the languages were officially recognized in the education system. Several recommended mother-tongue education in the lower grades, however, and several more insisted that it should be possible to take examinations in local languages in secondary school.

Respondents suggested that demand for reading materials in local languages could be generated through literacy and reading campaigns, local language supplements in newspapers, local language programs on radio, story-writing competitions in local languages, and promotion of local language materials in village and community libraries. A large number of respondents said it would be necessary to train authors and teachers in writing and teaching the local language, and a few pointed out that for some languages it was first necessary to standardize the orthography. Several suggested that community members and members of literacy classes be encouraged to write folk tales or stories. Many respondents suggested translating existing books. Several suggested that subsidies or other incentives should be offered to publishers willing to take the risks of publishing small editions in local languages, and others suggested electronic publishing as an economic means of dealing with short runs.

Respondents thought that reading programs and campaigns - possibly involving television and radio, book fairs, competitions, and prizes - would do most to foster a more favourable reading culture for children in particular and adults in general. Many stressed the importance of making reading part of the school curriculum, training teachers in the value of reading at school, and using project-based learning as means of instilling the reading habit in children. A large number called for the development of school libraries and mobile libraries as a foundation upon which reading and literacy campaigns might be built. Several mentioned the need for more attractive, affordable books for children, published locally and using local languages.

Responses to other parts of the questionnaire are incorporated in other parts of this survey.

 
The anglophone Caribbean
 

Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands (BVI), Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, St. Kitts, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.

During the decade of the 1990s there was a significant improvement in the provision of learning materials in most of the 12 anglophone countries in the Caribbean region surveyed. As the decade comes to a close, no country could be described as experiencing a book famine. Nevertheless there remain significant barriers to the adequate provision of learning materials.

Most countries report no serious shortage of textbooks or work books. A study made in 1991 of the countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago found "a proliferation of high quality texts written by Caribbean educators and published by international and regional publishers". The author found "little need to duplicate the many fine manuscripts already published in every subject area and in use in the region." (The study is summarized as Appendix E in Clare 1993.) Indeed, in many countries of the region people feel that there is too great a choice and that parents and students are being asked to spend unnecessarily on a variety of textbooks. Ministries of education throughout the region are introducing prescribed lists of books at the primary and lower secondary levels.

There is concern about unequal access within countries. Individual governments have implemented a variety of schemes aimed at improving access and reducing cost. The Jamaican Primary Textbook Project, which has been operating since 1984, provides some 350,000 students per year with more than 2.5 million textbooks and workbooks in science, mathematics, language arts, social studies, and family life. The Jamaican Secondary School Textbook Project (originally funded by the British government in 1985) rents the core textbooks to students for US$25 per year. The Barbados Rental Scheme, which is among the oldest in the region, provides every secondary schoolchild with his or her full textbook needs for an annual fee of US$37. St. Vincent will introduce a rental scheme at the secondary level in the 1999/2000 academic year. Dominica and the Bahamas provide free textbooks. The government of Trinidad and Tobago is targeting needy students under a World Bank-funded project that will provide free textbooks in mathematics, English, and science to 35% of the country's school population starting in 2000.

Distribution remains a problem. Clare observed that the system of distribution of textbooks common to all countries of the Caribbean was one of the most expensive conceivable. Little has changed since 1991 and even the government rental schemes retain elements of that inefficient system. Under the Jamaica Secondary Textbooks Rental Scheme, for example, each secondary school not only selected the textbooks to be used in each subject but placed the order directly with its supplier of choice. The Ministry of Education, in theory, oversaw the process but largely confined itself to ensuring that the school had funds to pay for the order. Both ordering and shipping were inefficient and deliveries were often late. In 1999, the Ministry limited choice by issuing a list of approved texts, created a centralized pool of rental funds under its control, and encouraged importers to consolidate textbook provision. In 2000, the government may go one step further and centralize purchasing and distribution.

With few exceptions textbook procurement has involved the private sector. Jamaica has followed this principle since the 1970s. Barbados has consistently bought schoolbooks through private sector booksellers. Trinidad and Tobago, despite regular shifts in policy, has generally supported both local printing and distribution. In Guyana, however, the Ministry of Education remains the largest publisher of educational materials through the National Centre for Educational Resource Development.

Most countries offer some choice, but in June 1999 the government of Trinidad and Tobago changed policy abruptly in the name of economy and opted for a single textbook in each subject/level. It had previously accepted a recommendation of its own textbook evaluation committee that school principals be allowed to choose from two approved titles in mathematics and science and from six in language arts. The sudden change left local publishers with tens of thousands of books produced for the previous policy, and may reinforce the dominance of metropolitan publishers in the country's textbook trade.

The Jamaican Ministry of Education, in contrast, is unique regionally in its support of local publishers. The Ministry has responded positively, by adoption and purchase, to the increasing number of locally published books designed for its curricula. At the primary level, for example, of the four subject areas in which the Ministry provides books only the mathematics texts are published outside Jamaica. All the language arts, science, and social studies texts are locally published. The approved textbook list for secondary schools also includes a significant number of locally published texts in English language, social studies, mathematics, and science.

All countries of the region reported serious significant shortages in other categories of learning materials. With limited resources, governments have had to place a priority on satisfying the needs of the core curriculum. Government budgets for libraries are being reduced, or a greater proportion of them is being absorbed by administrative expenses, at the same time as prices of books rise. As a result, fewer books are bought. Money, however, is not the only concern. Smaller countries, such as the British Virgin Islands and Belize, which have no indigenous publishing, have difficulty in gaining access to regionally produced reading material.

Some attempts have been made to provide more supplementary reading materials in schools. In 1996 Trinidad and Tobago began establishing classroom libraries in all its 486 primary schools under a basic education project funded by the International Development Bank (IDB). The books were intended to support a new curriculum integrating reading and language. In Jamaica, 120 secondary schools received library books between 1996 and 1998 under a US$1.2 million project funded by IBD, while primary schools will also receive books - some 250,000 of them - in the year 2000 under a British-funded project.

Such schemes are not without problems. In Trinidad and Tobago, teachers and librarians were given a chance to inspect and select books for their schools through a series of regional exhibitions; nevertheless, many lacked information about the range of available materials. There was also a shortage of culturally relevant material from other countries in the region and beyond. Jamaica has had difficulty in getting basic information from publishers and other sources about regionally produced materials that might be relevant for its primary school library project. As a result the first list compiled for tendering included no locally produced books or books that were culturally relevant to the country.

Barbados, with one of the highest literacy rates in the region, has opted for non-print technology. Its Edutec 2000 project, which has been declared a national priority, is focused on providing multimedia facilities in all the nation's schools. Barbados has also created an educational software review centre and is considering including software among the materials available under its well-established textbooks rental program.

In Guyana, where the government is unable to provide for the country's reading needs, a local NGO has undertaken the task. CODE, has established 271 community libraries in the last five years and distributed some 240,000 books to schools, libraries, and other educational institutions.

As a result of conferences in St. Lucia and Jamaica, a regional association of publishers is forming, encompassing all the language areas of the Caribbean - English, French, Spanish, and Dutch. Its immediate concerns are expected to include problems of distribution, training, and public/private sector cooperation.

None of the countries in the region has a national book policy. In mid-1999 the National Book Development Council of Jamaica, with funding from UNESCO, convened a regional consultation on national book policies. Delegates representing all the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member countries participated. Their reports provided a mixed picture of the state of the book in the countries of the region, ranging from virtual inertia to vitality. Positive trends included the general absence of taxes or duties on imported books, moves by several countries to enact modern copyright legislation, and increasing government intervention to provide textbooks to disadvantaged sections of the population. The book chain is best developed in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados, but no country can be said to have a publishing industry and even in Jamaica there now is only one textbook publisher of substance. The book industry in the rest of the Caribbean region remains in a state of chronic underdevelopment which is unlikely to be changed by occasional book provision schemes. The region remains the one geographical area in the English-speaking world where there is little or no initiative in book development.

 
Central and Eastern Europe
 

Albania, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)

The political change in Central and Eastern Europe has brought widespread initiatives for economic and social reform. For almost a decade, the post-communist countries of this region have been attempting to lay the foundations of their future democracies and to introduce market economies - a painful transition accompanied at times by economic stagnation, high inflation, unemployment, social disillusion and, in southeastern Europe, armed disputes.

The production, dissemination, and use of instructional materials, like the educational systems, have been affected by the transition. Fragile economies, insufficient budget allocations, and lack of legislative measures contributed to the deterioration of the publishing industry during the first half of the nineties. In every country there is more than one educational publisher, although often one (usually the state or former state company) is distinguished by the Ministry of Education as the leading company. In such cases, it is difficult for newly formed companies to obtain a share in the market because of tradition. In some countries the Ministry of Education helps the former monopolist through subsidies or large purchases. In Hungary and some other countries, the private publishers found it in their interest to maintain the public status of the state textbook company out of fear that, privatized and free from public obligations, it would be even more dangerous a competitor.

Planned educational reforms still have to be implemented. In every country new curricula are either under development or under implementation. The major presumption, inherited from the socialist system of education, is that the textbook is the most important item in the educational system and, when you have a textbook, all other materials are significantly less necessary. Work books and teachers' guides are also recognized, but interactive materials are rare.

Textbook shortages vary, as do the availability and range of learning materials. Although market-oriented changes have been introduced in some countries, examples remain of state control of prices, textbook subsidies, and deep-rooted expectations that the government will provide free or cheap textbooks. Curriculum development and textbook provision have been assisted by international CSOs and by agencies such as the World Bank and European Union.

The Visegrad countries In the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, the transition towards a democratic order and market economy is progressing and, although the financial situation is still difficult, textbooks suffer more in quality than in quantity. The total number of textbook titles published in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland rose slightly between 1994 and 1997. In the largest market, Poland, the publication of instructional materials has been turned into a profitable, competitive activity. Comprehensive educational reforms aim to replace the old fact-based, textbook-oriented learning with alternative methods and curricula. New textbooks are being developed primarily with the help of international funding agencies and experts.

The Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania undertook economic, political, and social reforms after their separation from the former USSR and all have achieved political stability and progress in commercial infrastructure. Their economies are improving but are still fragile, and the shortage of disposable income affects the production and dissemination of educational materials. School book publishing is impeded by the small size of the national markets, which are further reduced by the presence of minority language groups. Latvia is beginning to pay attention to ethnic minority education and, above all, the integration of Russian language schools. Lithuania is supporting the decentralization of education. There are some textbook and work book shortages in Estonia, and all countries feel serious shortages of teachers' guides and supplementary materials, including reference books. In all three countries, the annual number of textbook titles published had increased substantially by 1997 over output even two years earlier.

CIS (non-Central Asia and Caucasus) countries As in other states of the former USSR, the collapse of the old regime in Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and Russia was followed by the collapse of political, economic, and cultural structures and by disruption of commerce and distribution against a background of hyperinflation. The large size of Ukraine and the division between its Ukrainian and Russian-speaking areas exacerbated the difficulties of transition. The government controls the selection and issue of every textbook but lacks the funds to meet all requirements. Old textbooks need to be replaced and, in general, instructional materials are in serious demand.

Economic reform and privatization in Belarus are proceeding more slowly than in Russia or the Baltic states. The country is closely tied to the Russian market and heavily dependent on it. The publishing sector remains state-owned. The Ministry of Education has the ultimate control over textbook provision and state-owned publishers retain their monopoly. Russian textbooks from before 1990 are still in use.

In Moldova national educational standards and curricula are being revised. There is a critical shortage of textbooks and teachers' guides, and supplementary materials are non-existent. An experimental textbook rental scheme was severely undermined by the Russian economic crash of August 1998.

In the Russian Federation, estimates of the shortage of textbooks in primary and secondary schools range from 100 to 300 million books, depending on whether one counts physical numbers of books in the schools or considers quality and appropriateness. History books from the 1980s are still in use and falling apart. In the early 1990s educational funding was devolved to the 89 oblasts (provinces) and the Ministry of Education was expected to recommend two or three suitable textbooks for each subject/level. Competition might have been expected to blossom, but the market remains dominated by the massive state publishing house Prosvescheniye, which benefits from hidden subsidies despite efforts to commercialize it. Another large textbook publishing company is said to have links with the mafia. Despite all obstacles, the quality of books in general is being improved through competition and consumer demand. In 1998 competitions for textbooks were launched and 40 new titles approved, with the result that by 1999 the federally approved list had two and often three titles for each subject/level. Teachers' guides and supplementary materials remained in short supply, however.

The Balkans Textbook shortages in the countries of Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania are a direct result of slow political, economic, and social reforms. Only recently, with the arrival of democratic governments (as late as 1997 in Bulgaria and Romania), have changes begun. The governments are committed to privatization, but progress is impeded by low wages, inflation, and declining purchasing power. Financial support for textbooks from international agencies, such as the World Bank and the Soros Foundation, has been decisive during the last several years. Even so, budgets are not always sufficient to meet needs for textbooks and work books, most of which are being replaced by new editions. Supplementary materials are still in scarce supply.

Bulgaria has developed new textbooks for most grades and to finance them has begun selling them to families. In Romania, competition in textbooks has been introduced with World Bank funding. In Albania, much of the countryside is remote and difficult to reach and 87% of the schools are in villages. Textbook production and provision is controlled by the Ministry of Education using monopoly state-owned publishing and distribution enterprises. There is a shortage of textbooks, and teachers of all grades require guides to the revised curriculum.

The republics of the former Yugoslavia Wars have destroyed schools as well as the national economies and infrastructures and have fragmented what was once one national market. In Bosnia and Herzegovina international funding for education has initially been directed towards repairing damaged schools.

The already small book market is divided in three by language and differing publishing policies. As a result production costs are high and print runs low. There is no system at cantonal level for inventory control and distribution of textbooks to schools.

Croatia's educational system has remained completely centralized and underfunded. Curricular reform has been hampered by disputes between Croatians and the Serb minority.

Macedonia has undertaken educational reform and tested new methods, but lacks finances to support the desired change. Development of new learning materials is impeded by an underdeveloped publishing industry and gradually increasing costs. Moreover, the constitution guarantees the Albanian, Turkish, and Serb minorities instruction in their mother tongues at the elementary and secondary levels. Textbooks of equal quality are required in all subjects at the same price in the three minority languages as well as Macedonian. Many print runs are small as a result, but costs are amortized across the four editions to achieve a common sales price. Supplementary materials are basically non-existent.

In the aftermath of Kosovo, the educational infrastructure of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) must be reconstructed. The school systems are strictly controlled by a totalitarian state, using old teaching methods. Textbooks are sold. No curricular reform was in place before the war and there is little evidence that publishing of any kind will receive immediate attention.

Textbook selection, ownership, distribution, and funding Most countries permit choice and competition in the production of educational materials, Belarus and Ukraine being notable exceptions. Ministries of education in all countries decide what textbooks are approved for use in schools. Alternative textbooks may be used without Ministry approval, as in Lithuania, or only with approval of the Ministry, as in Bulgaria. In Macedonia, the Ministry intends to allow schools an element of choice in the textbooks they use for most if not all subjects. In Russia, teachers are free in principle to choose among Ministry-approved and any other published textbooks, but information about what is available is scarce, sample copies are hard to come by, and teachers continue to rely on the old books and methods with which they are familiar. In Russia, Hungary, and Estonia, textbooks that are not recommended by the Ministry tend to be more expensive for parents to buy. The highly centralized Yugoslav system of education did not allow choice of textbooks before the war with Kosovo. In Albania, there is practically no choice.

Privatization in the publishing industry has been initiated in many countries. Most of the former state publishing houses in Estonia are privatized, including the former textbook publishing monopoly Koolibri. In Latvia, privatization is also complete and Zvaigne, the former state textbook monopoly, is having to compete with a small number of private houses. Most of the publishing industry of Romania has been privatized but the textbook market is still dominated by a single state-owned educational publishing house. The biggest publishing houses in Bosnia and Herzegovina are still state-owned, however. In Macedonia, the state publisher Prosvetno Delo still has the textbook monopoly but discussions concerning its privatization have been completed. In Ukraine, private publishers are beginning to get a share of the educational market but are constrained by high prices for paper and printing because of dependence on Russian suppliers. The Albanian government has approved the privatization of state enterprises.

Systems of textbook distribution differ, but all have problems, pre-eminently delays in payment to publishers. In several countries, state systems have been replaced by the private sector. In Estonia and Poland, publishing companies work with private wholesalers. In Poland, textbooks are chosen by teachers and bought by parents, usually in bookshops. In Estonia, the former state distribution and retail book selling monopoly has been replaced by private ...

 
Table 13. Textbook publisher ownership, distribution, and funding in Central and Eastern Europe (not available)
 

...wholesalers and booksellers. In Romania, publishers are responsible for distributing the books to the schools and are paid only on delivery. The state distribution organization still exists in Latvia but no longer has a monopoly and many of its bookstores have been privatized or closed.

Elsewhere, the state continues to be involved in distributing books to the schools. In Lithuania, the state distribution organization has been privatized but textbook distribution has been taken over by the Ministry of Culture and Education and remains state-controlled. In Belarus and Russia, textbooks are distributed to schools by governmental firms. In Albania, textbooks are delivered in bulk by the state printing house to local state warehouses in the 37 administrative districts and from there are redistributed by school-appointed representatives, usually teachers. In Macedonia, the state publisher has recently been supplying textbooks directly to the schools instead of through retail bookshops. In Croatia distribution channels have been badly neglected and in Ukraine the distribution system has disintegrated.

Some countries have successfully introduced market rules and free competition in the creation of educational materials (Table 13). Elsewhere, the debate over the state's role is heated. Many governments struggle to balance stretched budgets and a continuing commitment to provide textbooks free of charge. In some countries, parents buy books on a black market simply because the state has failed to deliver what is needed. In Slovenia, parents pay for all books; in Romania and Belarus, educational authorities pay for textbooks and parents pay for supplementary materials that have not been approved by the Ministry of Education. In Bulgaria, the state provides free schoolbooks in the first years of education but parents complain about the high prices of textbooks for subsequent grades. In Albania, pupils pay a nominal charge for the use of schoolbooks, which are returned for re-use. Some countries subsidize textbook prices generally, and most subsidize textbooks for handicapped children, minority groups, and vocational schools.

The publishing environment Every country has a publishers' association, most of them founded since 1989. Those in Estonia and Latvia have been particularly active. In many countries, the printing industry lacks modern equipment that can provide short print runs economically. With the exception of Russia most countries need to import paper. Printing prices in Moldova, which had been a major printing centre in the Soviet Union, are low in comparison with those in neighboring countries and there is substantial demand for its services from Romania, Bulgaria, and Russia. Many countries must find financing for short-run textbooks to meet minority needs.

There is an urgent need for training in writing, publishing, and distribution of textbooks and for training of teachers in their use. The Open Society Institute and the local Soros Foundations for Open Society have been running numerous regional and general programs addressing educational reforms, textbook publication, and translation of materials. The British Know How Fund has also organized training workshops in Albania and Romania. In the early 1990s the Soros Foundation supported some 400 writing projects in Russia, most of them supplementary materials that have found their way to the country's more progressive schools.

The World Bank is supporting the publication and distribution of selected primary and secondary school core textbooks in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Romania, it supported an education reform project that introduced new textbooks and competition. It is negotiating with Albania an education reform loan that would include competitive textbooks. It has also provided support for textbooks in Russia, Macedonia, and Moldova. A Bank project in Russia involved direct loans to oblasts to provide working capital for publishers to produce federally approved textbooks, but it faltered, just as agreement was to be signed, after the ruble was devalued in August 1998.

 
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