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April 2019


  1. Introduction
  2. Management board meeting February
  3. London Book Fair and What Works conference
  4. IPA meeting in London
  5. BELMA progress
  6. Upcoming networks
  7. Other activities
  8. Useful documents and links

1. Introduction

With spring in the air

and the Bologna Book Fair in full swing, we are looking back at a very interesting first quarter of 2019. With no decision yet as to whether Brexit is going to happen at all and if, in what form, a few decisions have actually been taken across Europe.

In the third week of March, the European Parliament Plenary adopted the Copyright Directive. Prior to the vote in parliament, the EEPG assisted the IPA campaign by writing letters and emails to MEPs. The result was 348 in favour and 274 against. So, with one more step to implementing the directive into the individual countries' laws, it looks like Europe has understood the need to protect the intellectual property of authors and illustrators.

But really, the outcome was unclear until the very last minute. Especially in Germany, huge demonstrations in many cities tried to sway the voters and a petition "Stop the censorship-machinery! Save the Internet!" has collected more than 5 mill signatures to date.

But what has the copyright directive to do with the internet and how does it affect educational publishers? And what are the next steps to make this directive into law in each country of the European Union? Answers to these and many more will be given at the EEPG network meeting in Sofia by Margarita Gigova, educationalist and expert on copyright.

2. Management board meeting February

The mangement board meeting took place in Warsaw on 4th of February. As I have already written, one of the members elected at the AGM has since left the company Sviesa. She has been replaced by Irmantas Svavas.

Please note that at the AGM, you had given us the task to look into the fee structure and come up with options to alternatives. The different possibilities were discussed at length, but the result was a "no change" decision. In the minutes, you will find a more detailed explanation. You can also find some ideas about the "lobbying" issues that were discussed at the AGM.

Another key issue at the management board meeting was the question of how to raise awareness for the EEPG and BELMA. Since then a Facebook account for both BELMA and the EEPG has been established (please like them) and a LinkedIn account is being set up.

The minutes of the board meeting can be found here.

3. London Book Fair and What Works conference

The main topic at the London Book Fair was of course Brexit, with quite a few seminars dedicated to the consequences. It is estimated that GDP will be reduced by 6 - 9% if there is no deal, but also by 1 - 5 % if there is a deal. Most attendants at the Fair, however, were resigned to just getting on with day-to day business - and the events since have proven them right. Even though the organizers don't publish attendance figures, it seemed that there were less educational publishers than in previous years.

The IPA organized an excellent Freedom to Publish Seminar and announced the launch date for the SDG Book Club (in Bologna). You can find out more about the UN initiative and the Book Club here or sign up for the newsletter here.

The "What Works" conference took place on March 12th and was well attended (better than in the last few years). The presentations have not been made available yet. Jane Mann, Director, Education Reform at Cambridge University Press, chaired the conference.
  • In a keynote on curriculum development, Lynne McLure, Director, Cambridge Mathematics, described the 5-year process of research and development corroborated by extensive data that is the basis of a completely new program.
  • This was followed by an overview on international schools (British and American!) and the rise in numbers - we ask ourselves if this might have to do with globalization? It was disappointing, though, that there were no glimpses into other types of school or any generalizations that might have given educational publishers in countries other than Britain or the US some ideas.
  • The next topic, "International publishing" was also very centred on the English speaking market, with case studies from Marshall Cavendish and Macmillan.
  • After the coffee break, the most interesting panel dealt with "How EdTech Can Assist Learning and Raise Attainment." You might want to check out these links:
  • Unfortunately, the discussions only managed to graze the tip of the iceberg. All in all, nothing was said that has not been discussed before. However, AI seems to become an important factor in assessment as well as development of materials. There was a general agreement that edtech is only useful when it is meaningful and purposeful. Teachers have to be empowered to work smarter and become more insights into the learning process.
  • The last session of the day was concerned with the "UN Sustainable Development Goals- How Can Publishers Support SDG4 in Improving Access and Equality in Education". While we are all aware that there is not a lot educational publishers can do to reach the goals, at least we can assist in promoting the right attitudes (about girl's education for example, traditional role models, etc.) and getting the right messages across in our publications.

4. IPA meeting in London

An IPA meeting took place in London after the Book Fair on Friday 15th. There were 38 attendants. After some administrative issues concerning the steering group and the operating guidelines (Chair and vice chair), there were a number of presentation, which can mostly be found here as well as the minutes of the meeting:

Please read the minutes for an update on the UK market by Colin Hughes, managing director, Collins learning. If you are wondering who "GT" is in these minutes, it is Graham Taylor, who organizes the IPA/EPF meetings.

I would like to add a few interesting points here: In Britain, the big 5 educational publishers share a market with about 800 small niche publishers. Still, teachers are providing their own materials. Because the market for digital was developed early (in the late 90ies), it is fairly substantial compared to other European countries at 15%, but that might change with less funding. A national approval system as envisaged by the current government goes against British culture. It's implementation is very doubtful.

Please also read the information on "Value of Educational Publishing" and look at the presentation. At the Sofia network meeting in May, Brian Gilsenan will explain the development, the outcome and how every publisher can use the materials and adapt them for their own needs.

5. BELMA progress

As always, but increasingly so in the last few years, applications for BELMA are very slow. It seems that people keep it until the last minute. This is a bit awkward for the jury chairman, Jean-Claude Lasnier. He has to distribute every title to the members in such a way that each title is being looked at by three different members of the jury, who speak the language or do at least have access to academics who can help.

This year, we are negotiating with the Book Fair to get more media presence for the award ceremony. The good news is, that BELMA seems to attract more publishers and institutions that are not in the EEPG.

There is still time to take part, so please get your products out there and register. We are also currently "modernising" Christoph Bläsi's presentation at Frankfurt "From Don'ts to Dos", which we'll upload shortly.

6. Upcoming networks

Please note that registration for the "network meeting for decision makers" has been open for a while. The agenda and the speakers as well as information on the venue and the hotel registration form are online here (you'll need to be logged in) in the members section. Because Plovdiv (not that far from Sofia), is European Capital of Culture 2019, there will be an opportunity to go on an outing on Saturday. Please register early, so that we can organize accordingly. Also, all contributions to the agenda are welcome!

The dates for the other two networks have been fixed for
  • 2019 July 11-12 Trakai/Vilnius Network meeting: Marketing through social media and
  • 2019 September 15-16 TelAviv Network meeting Learning Game Changers

and we are currently finalizing the program for Vilnius. Further details can be found in START > MEMBER AREA> NETWORK MEETINGS > 2019. For all of you who were in Ljubljana last year, we are planning another workshop with Katie Roden, which will be equally interesting and inspiring, also for people who were not able to attend.

7. Other activites

At the AGM, Fraus Publishers asked for a paper on the educational systems in Austria and Denmark. They sent a list of questions which were answered with maximum input from Veritas and Systime. The comparison might be interesting for other publishers, so please find the paper here.

8. Useful documents and links

Here is a publication you might be interested in if you are into the debate about the future of education and where it is going - Rethinking Education, Towards a Global Common Good.

And if you are not fed up with the copyright directive but at the same time not sure what it means for you, here it is explained in simple words. But don't forget, we'll have a session on this in Sofia.

I find it very useful to get an overview of Euridice articles via the newsletter "Eurydice Voice". You can subscribe here.

Here is an interesting link to an article about teaching skills for the future.

You can also find this ineresting publication on our website in the news section or here.

Berlin, April 3rd, 2019

Wielandstr. 33, 10629 Berlin / Germany
Phone: +49 171 275 63 23
E-Mail: helga.holtkamp@eepg.org