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Re: [bytesforall_readers] A look at students using eTextbooks: http://mbist.ro/GJkzGV (via @eBookNewser) #Infographic

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  • Edward Cherlin
    2012/3/23 Frederick [FN] Noronha * फ्रेडरिक नोरोन्या *فريدريك نورونيا ... How much
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 23, 2012
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      2012/3/23 Frederick [FN] Noronha * फ्रेडरिक नोरोन्या *فريدريك نورونيا
      > http://www.mediabistro.com/ebooknewser/a-look-at-students-using-etextbooks-infographic_b21348
      > I'm not sure the same logic would work in countries India. Not just a question of high hardware costs, but books here are (fortunately) not made as costly as in the West. What do you think? FN

      How much do textbooks cost in India, then?

      I see that the minimum price for self-publishing a 200-page book at
      pothi.com is Rs174, which is something like USD3.50. (This has a
      profit margin of 0%, so books would normally be priced higher than
      that.) If students need four or five books for each semester, that
      would set a floor of $35 annually. Presumably mass printing would cost
      less. Then there are costs for shipping, warehousing, and

      I see here a list of 54 educational publishers in India.


      It will take somewhat more work for me to understand the price
      structure of this business, but the few I clicked on (after
      registering at the site) sell books at much higher prices than that.

      How do textbooks in village schools in India compare with those in,
      say, South Korea? It was a post-colonial, post-war basket case after
      Japanese occupation and the Korean war, and is now the most wired
      nation on Earth. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in South Korea during
      the period of military dictatorship that followed a period of
      monstrous corruption, so I am writing from personal observation. Day
      laborers made less than $1.00 a day when I was there, the level of
      countries in Africa today. However, there was no question that
      development in South Korea meant development for all. More at


      Well, let us put all of that aside and go back to simple numbers.

      We have computers for students that cost less than $200, and we are
      told that we can have computers that cost less than $100, perhaps as
      little as $35, although that has been questioned. Still, can students
      in India get a complete set of textbooks for $50 per year, which would
      match the hardware cost of a $200 device used for four years? $25, to
      match a $100 computer? $10, to match a $35 computer?

      And if we can match the price, what about the quality? In the US, we
      have many horror stories about the stranglehold that two of the
      largest states have on the primary and secondary textbook market, and
      the greater stranglehold of the print publishers and the school board
      textbook selection committees.

      Annals of Corruption: Judging Books by Their Covers
      Richard P. Feynman

      What is the situation in India? In how many of India's 22 scheduled
      languages are all of the standard textbooks available? What about the
      400+ other documented languages of India?

      The number of individual languages listed for India is 452. Of those,
      438 are living languages and 14 have no known speakers.

      Would a language community be able to get permission to translate
      textbooks to their own language, and if so, how would they publish the
      results? Sugar Labs provides a server for translating educational
      software and textbooks to any language whose users care to join the


      It has more than 100 projects, including Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi,
      Kannada, Konkani, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Punjabi, Sanskrit,
      Sindhi, Sinhala, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.

      And if we could match the quality, and get the permissions, and all,
      what could we provide that would match access to the Internet for
      everything not in the textbooks? Not just the information resources on
      the Internet, but access to all of the people of India (assuming that
      we do this for all children of India), and all of the other people of
      the world who are on the Net.

      None of these is a problem with Open Educational Resources, that is,
      digital learning materials under Free licenses such as Creative
      Commons Sharealike. Sites hosting or linking to numerous OERs are
      listed at


      An example that I have personally been working on is Algebra: An
      Algorithmic Treatment, in which every math statement is executable,
      returning answers in text, numeric, or graphical format.


      Of course, replacing all textbooks with OERs requires the political
      will to fund development, and to provide the computers, the
      electricity, and the Internet access to hundreds of millions of
      students across the entire country. This would require an investment
      of billions of dollars a year, which would return accelerated growth
      increasing to tens of trillions of dollars a year in the economy in
      the next generation.

      Bangladesh has already digitized a complete set of textbooks for all
      subjects for all grades in its one principal language (with UNDP
      funding), and is planning to build its own school computer, the Doel.
      Uruguay and South Korea are doing the same for their textbooks. India
      has so far shown no desire to keep up with them. As I see it, this is
      rupee wise and crore foolish.

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