Publishers’ lifeline pegged on new textbooks policy – People Daily

Industry banking on implementation of new curriculum and one-book-per pupil policy 

Publishers are banking on radical policy changes and betting on an increase in budgetary allocation to the education sector to boost profits amid dwindling sales. The industry hopes that when the new curriculum is implemented, demand for textbooks will increase, particularly if the one-book-per-pupil policy is put into practice. Speaking during their annual book fair in Nairobi last week, publishers who estimate parents could spend up to Sh1.2 billion if government waives the 16 per cent paid as value added tax (VAT).

Publishers also hope that the new curriculum will be fully implemented and supported with increased capitation to schools for the purchase of books. “We hope the government will increase funding because we want the new curriculum to be fully implemented,” said Kenya Association of Publishers chairman Lawrence Njagi during the 20th Nairobi International Book Fair. Publishers also warned of an intricate scheme of powerful cartels controlling pirated books through the black market that gobbles up some Sh4 billion annually. “It is no longer a business in the back streets. It’s done off shore then shipped back to the country.

Done even at institutions of higher learning,” said East African Educational In Kenya, free laptops project for primary schools is making all the difference as it deepens the use of digital throughout the country. Information Communication and Technology Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru insists there is no turning back on the project, because such a move would reverse gains made in pushing the nation towards the digital age. “We cannot go back to hard copy textbooks yet the world is moving towards smart devices, we need to develop IT skills in our children so they can be competent in a digital world,” says Mucheru. Publishers chief executive officer Kamau Kiarie, while blaming long court processes, delays and lenient sentences for the menace. The ministry of Education is rooting for each primary school pupil to be allocated Sh761 annually for textbooks while Sh 4,792 to 2.3 million secondary students.

Digital disruption

The publishers will, however, have to contend with the emerging digital disruption which has visited the publishing space forcing players to align themselves to changes as the revolution takes root globally. Publishers have already put in place mechanisms to leverage on online platforms to boost sales of both hard copy and soft copy publications. Some like Longhorn Publishers reportedly set aside about Sh200 million to digitise physical books ahead of roll-out of their digital learning programme and promised to spend another Sh50 million annually to market the digital brands. Also eying the industry transformation is online retailer Jumia Kenya which has developed a platform solely for selling books in conjunction with the local publishers.

The numbers

  • Publishers estimate parents could spend up to Sh1.2 billion on text books if the government waives 16 per cent Value Added Tax.
  • The ministry of Education is rooting for each primary school pupil to be allocatedSh761 annually for text books while Sh4,792 to 2.3 million secondary students, which translates to about Sh11 billion.
  • In Kenya, free laptops project for primary schools is making all the difference as it deepens the use of digital throughout the country.
  • Sh 4b – Amount publishers lose annually to an intricate scheme of powerful cartels controlling pirated books through the black market.

Original post: http://epaper.peopledaily.co.ke/?iid=155717#folio=14