Memorandum submitted by International
We have heard from the British Embassy in Georgia,
with whom we have worked closely, that a visit for the Parliamentary
Foreign Affairs Committee is being organised to the Caucasus and
Central Asia and that a brief from IBD on priorities for education
and information might be useful.
International Book Development Ltd is a consultancy
company, specialising in the formulation of book and information
development in the former Soviet Union, Central and Eastern Europe
and the developing world. The company has taken a leading role
in the analysis of book and information provision, primarily in
the Education Sector, for the past 10 years.
In countries where choice and competition in
the supply of educational materials is a growing demand and where
the old textbooks are increasingly irrelevant to new curriculae
and unaffordable, the need for assistance to both the State and
Private sectors and particularly to Governments is very urgent.
IBD has worked with aid agencies and Ministries
of Education and other Government departments in the following
1. Armeniaon-going World Bank
Education project since 1996
2. Georgiaon-going World Bank
Education project since 1998
2a. GeorgiaStudy visit to Abkhazia
to assess textbook needs and potential for integration in the
2b. GeorgiaStudy visit to South
Ossetia to assess textbook needs and potential for integration
in the project (1998)
2c. GeorgiaExhibition of British
Books organised with the British Embassy (1998)
2d. GeorgiaBook Sector Study
for the World Bank (1998)
3. KazakhstanDesign of Textbook
and Learning materials component for Asian Development Bank Education
project (1997 and 1998)
(4) KyrgyzstanStudy into textbooks
and learning materials for World Bank project (1996)
(5) TajikistanDesign of textbook
and learning materials component for World Bank Project (1999)
(6) UzbekistanWork with Asian
Development Bank to identify textbook and materials needs and
policy (1997 and 1999)
Most of this work involves several visits and
work by consultants from IBD.
In the list of countries to be visited, the
only countries not so far visited or worked in by IBD (except
in overall studies) are Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.
IBD staff are in frequent discussion on education
policy with Governments in all other countries to be visited by
the Committee. The extent of contact with British representation
in these countries varies but IBD staff regularly visit Embassies
(and British Council offices) in these countries to keep them
informed and in some cases to work on projects together (eg, Georgia).
IBD also has close contacts with both the publishing
industry in the UK and with the publishing and printing industries
in these countries (both State owned and private sector).
IBD has been commissioned by the Council of
Europe to write a report on the problems and changes in the publishing
industries in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and
the FSU and recently completed for the World Bank a survey entitled
"Progress toward Competitive Market-oriented Textbook Provision
in the FSU".
We could either provide a face-to-face briefing
(although time is short) or provide some written background for
any of the parliamentary visitors who are interested in educational
publishing and information.
Without knowing precisely what the British Government
priorities in Education and Information are the following seem
to us to be priority needs:
(1) Understanding by Western Governments
and Book Trades of the structure of educational policy and of
supply of materials in the Soviet era and the hurdles that need
to be overcome to arrive at new curricula, teaching methods, materials
supply, distribution and use.
(2) Understanding by the Educational
establishment in the countries of the FSU of how choice and competition
can be beneficial and why it is often a necessity.
(3) The need for support to English
language teaching and learning through suitable materials.
(4) The need for support to the Higher
Education sector for both student textbooks fand library materials,
now that the need for and availability of Russian language textbooks
is declining and budgets for books and information are so low.
(5) Advice to the printing industry
(machinery, paper supply, new technology).
(6) Advice and training to the publishing
industries, especially in finance, marketing and international
rights (support was supplied in the early 1990's to Eastern Europe
through the Know How Fund, and to very good effect).
(7) Training in the methods of transparent
and objective evaluation in textbook bids.