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December 2019


  1. Introduction
  2. Network meetings in Vilnius and Tel Aviv
  3. AGM in Frankfurt
  4. Upcoming network meetings
  5. FEP/IPA/EPF meeting in Milan
  6. Useful documents and links
  7. Business opportunities and contacts

1. Introduction

Unbelievable but true, The New Year is almost already upon us. And what an unusual year the present one has been. International politics have gone crazy, Britain is finally leaving the EU and a young Swedish climate activist has been named "Person of the year" by Time magazine. For a year now, she has forced us to re-think how we are treating the world. While not everybody agrees with her, especially not the powers that be, she has made an impact - even on our industry.

Earlier this month, PISA results were published and I'm sure, all of you have been looking at your countries results and have either been elated, like our colleagues from Estonia, or worried because your country has dropped down some places. However, did you know that here, you can not only find a video by Andreas Schleicher, Director, Directorate of Education and Skills, summing up the key findings, but also lots of interesting info graphics, statistics and examples of the test questions. So, for those of you dealing especially with reading skills, it might be useful to check this out.

Last year, in the December newsletter, I was politically correct and sent you a "word cloud" with season's greetings in all the languages of the member states. This year, I'm going to be very incorrect and just show you how nice winter can be in a warm country, while in Berlin it is wet and miserable.

2. Network meetings in Vilnius and Tel Aviv

2019 July 11-12 Trakai/Vilnius Network meeting: Product quality as a key factor in successful marketing (BELMA and beyond)

28 participants made this a very good and useful meeting. The list of participants, together with the agenda can be downloaded on the website in the members' area.
As in Ljubljana in 2018, Katie Roden gave inspiring insights, this time focusing on how quality can help your company and your products stand out from the crowd. Her presentation and workshop material are available on the website as well as all the other presentations by our hosts Sviesa and participants from 14 countries.
The program included an excursion to Trakai castle and a visit to a private school Siaurės licėjus.

At the meeting.

Visiting the pprivate school.

Trakai castle.

Vilnius skyline.

2019 September 17-20 Tel Aviv Network meeting "Education 2030"

The network meeting was organized by our hosts CET in conjunction with the " Shaping the future conference". You can watch many of the presentations of Shaping the future here.
Again, 14 countries were represented at the network meeting and in addition to the agenda and the list of participants, the presentations can be downloaded from the website. One of the interesting outcomes of this meeting was the realization that all educational publishers big or small) are confronted with similar issues and that it is important to learn from each other, exchange ideas and work together.

3. AGM in Frankfurt

The AGM in Frankfurt was attended by 19 members. We picked up on many of the issues already discussed in previous years and made good progress concerning the budget and fee issues. The minutes, final budget and the financial report will be online in January. For the first time, this year, we had a guest speaker from SpaceEU, Leiden University. Michelle Willebrands encouraged publishers to get in touch and use free materials for their science and math books and programs. Here are the contact details and the presentation.

For the second time, the AGM was followed by dinner in Fleming's restaurant, where again, there was a lively exchange of ideas.

This is the new board for 2020 which was elected unanimously:

Chairperson: Kina Andreeva, Prosveta, Bulgaria
Members: Artur Dyro, Learnetic, Poland; Irmantas Svazas, Sviesa, Lithuania: Carles Vidal, Vicens Vives, Spain.

A management board meeting is taking place on February 3rd in Barcelona, when we will finalize the decisions taken at the AGM and finish allocating the budget. One of the results of the AGM was to increase the budget for the websites and social media accounts to make them more efficient tools to promote EEPG and BELMA. And it was again pointed out at the AGM, that if members need individual support by the director or other members this will be facilitated where possible. An example of this was the EEPG involvement and talk at the Prague Education Festival in November at the request of our member Fraus. Another case was the request by Francisco Deslandes Heitor from Leya (Texto editores) to exchange experiences about a textbook purchasing programme.

4. Upcoming network meetings

The upcoming network meetings/conference for 2010 where discussed and since then the dates and place have been (almost) finalized:
  1. April 23. - 24th Barcelona in conjunction with World Book Day network meeting for decision makers
  2. May 21st - 22nd Kyiv in conjunction with Kyiv Book fair focus on marketing and distribution
  3. Copenhagen (open conference) in the autumn, dates and topics to be announced shortly.
Please save the dates. Registration will be opened at the end of January. As always, there will be small contribution for the open conference in autumn, but an early bird rate will apply as well as the substantial discount for EEPG members.

5. FEP/IPA/EPF meeting in Milan

An IPA meeting took place in Milan on November 21st and 22nd. The minutes have not been published but here are some important points.

On November 21st at the FEP meeting, Anne Bergman gave an update on the copyright situation and how the different countries are implementing the directive that was passed in the spring. More information about the Digital Single Market can be found here.

Enrico Turrin gave an overview about the VAT situation concerning ebooks as compared to printed books in some countries. Since December 2018, the individual governments can lower the VAT to harmonize it with the VAT on books. Island, Norway and Germany have lowered or are about to lower the VAT on ebooks. The FEP is going to provide a list of VAT rates across Europe, but the current list available is from January 2019, so not up-to-date. But if you are curious now, you might want to check this website.

Cristina Mussinelli from the Fondazione Libri Italiani Accessibili gave a talk in English about "Towards an accessible digital publishing eco system." Unfortunately the website is solely in Italian, but as soon as the talk/presentation is available in English, I will put it online. In the meantime, here is a brochure that was distributed and might be of use. It is interesting for educational publishers because in 2022 the European Accessibility Act (EU directive) will be implemented and the application has to be finalized by 2025 - which is only 5 years away!

On November 22nd, after the introductory speeches, Giorgio Riva, CEO of Editrice La Scuola S.p.A. gave an overview bout the Italian market. This presentation will be made available with the minutes of the meeting. After Giorgio, Judi Mesman from the University of Leiden gave an overview of her research into gender an ethnic representation and stereotypes in learning materials. Her findings are quite fascinating and more details are here.

We are still waiting for another presentation by Paul Grist, Head of Education Sales, International at AWS (Amazon Web Services). He explained how Amazon works in small agile teams, how AWS can support educational publishers and how AWS is involved in trends in teaching and learning, namely data and personalization, voice technology, virtual and augmented reality as well as machine learning and artificial intelligence. Amazon machine learning provides the basis for personalized recommendations as well as automation and inventory management.

The IPA has set up an "Ethics of Learning Analytics" task group which has just taken up work and will report at the next IPA meeting in Tiblisi on February 14th.

Another important date is the education day at the IPA Congress in Lillehammer, 29th May 2020. Please note that the early bird rate only applies to December 31st. You can find the program here as well as recommendations for hotels etc. Getting to Lillehammer is not that easy, but the program looks interesting.

6. Useful documents and links

Please check out Eurydice again. This month alone, the following interesting articles have been published:
  • Czech Republic: The importance of technical education in a modern school for the 21st century
  • Norway to implement new curricula at primary and secondary school levels in 2020
  • Denmark: New Ministerial Order on exams in primary and lower secondary education
  • Spain approves a strategic plan for vocational training
  • Poland to establish 100 more Local Knowledge and Education Centres
If you want this presentation by Christoph Bläsi as an open document to be translate into your language, please write to me.

As a little aside, I thought you might be interested in reading this article published in the summer. At Frankfurt, the IPA open educational conference this was also presented by Lindsay Nadin. Before, in January 2011, Genevieve Shore, then Director of Digital Strategy at Pearson had announced exactly the same strategy at "Learning without frontiers". However 2 years later, the wheel was turned back. So now, we'll have to watch whether they have got their strategy right this time and we can learn from them.

7. Business opportunities and contacts

Both during the book fair in Frankfurt and at BETT or similar events, I get constantly approached by printers, tech companies and other suppliers who would like the EEPG members to use (buy) their services. As usual, I do not judge those companies, but here is an opportunity to look into some just in case you are interested.

Video production: I already introduced Stephen Haggard from Digital learning associates to you following the BELMA presentation. Some of you might also remember him from the Berlin conference in 2016. Another video production company - totally different because they do bespoke ELT videos - is this one: Creative Listening.

Publishing solutions: This Indian company has visited our stand at the Frankfurt Bookfair every year now for at least 4 years, so I'm finally caving in and giving you the details. " S2Synergy Global - Faster, Smarter and Cost-effective Publishing Solutions", see what you think. I've also got a lot of printed brochures here, so I can bring them to the next network meeting. And the sales person is Pawan Kumar Choudhary.

And finally, I have been approached by UPM, a Finish consortium, to send you this text and a link:

What is the role of paper in learning and the future of education?
UPM report shares the latest research.
The educational publishing market is in turmoil. While overall growth has been steady at $value/body.3 billion between 2014 and 2018, the effects of digitalization on the industry are undeniable. However, it has been proven that students still have a better capacity for learning when using printed books and often show a preference for the look and feel of traditional books in educational environments.
Download the UPM report from here and get the latest research on the power of print in learning!

And this brings us neatly back to the beginning of this newsletter - Climate change! I wish you all a very recreational and relaxing time and hope to see many of you at the next network meeting in Barcelona. And please do not hesitate to get in touch if the EEPG can be of help with all issues related to educational publishing.

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