Re: [bytesforall_readers] A look at students using eTextbooks: http://mbist.ro/GJkzGV (via @eBookNewser) #Infographic
- 2012/3/23 Frederick [FN] Noronha * फ्रेडरिक नोरोन्या *فريدريك نورونيا
>How much do textbooks cost in India, then?
> 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
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
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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