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September 2015

September 2015 News


  • Introduction / Activities
  • Copyright issues / WIPO
  • Network Meeting in Tel Aviv, 7th to 10th September
  • The OECD report
  • Spotlight on educational news from around the world
  • The Georg Eckert Institute
  • IARTEM conference
  • Bi-annual conference (update)
  • BELMA 2015/2016
  • Dates for AGM and BELMA Awards

Introduction / Activities

In the third quarter of this year our lobbying activities concentrated on Greece. Together with IPA and especially EPF, we wrote a number of letters to various institutions in the EU. Even though the problems are far from being resolved there is progress and I am quoting here from an Email that Elena sent in July:

Dear Helga,
dear Richard Charkin,

dear José Borghino,

The VAT of books remained in the lowest range of VAT and is actually lower than before, it is now 6% (before it was 6,5%).
I was planning to write to you to personally to thank you all for your support. Your actions helped our voice to be heard: http://www.thebookseller.com/news/ipa-urges-protection-greeces-book-market http:


There lie ahead more problems for which we have to fight:
a) the Fixed Book Price
b) the VAT on book production (processes and materials) has been raised to 23% .

On top of this all the Ministry of Education has not paid the publishers for the supply of academic textbooks for the whole year.
Therefore, we are still in a hectic situation and your continuous support is critical and highly appreciated.

Yours, Elena Pataki
As you will see in the new bye-laws that were sent to you for the AGM on October 13th, helping and supporting EEPG members is one of the key tasks of the EEPG.
Apart from hat there was one network meeting hosted by our new member CET.
Also, both the EEPG website and the BELMA are now in responsive design and can be viewed on any device.


The EEPG was not invited to participate at the Oslo conference, which took place September 18th/19th and which some of you attended. However, the EEPG is on the mailing list and we are kept informed about the outcomes of the meetings. You will find relevant information under the thematic headings.

If you have not done so, you are welcome to subscribe to the EPF newsletter.

Also, please join the EPF open conference at the Frankfurt Bookfair.
  • 10:30 - 12:30 IPA Educational Publishers Forum Open Meeting; Room "Kontakt" on C1 of the Congress Centre

Copyright issues / WIPO

The issues of copyright in the digital age remain complicated and confusing, especially since individual countries have their own laws and regulations. It was discussed in April at the meeting in Belgrade that we should have regular networks dealing with these issues. Suggestions will be made at the AGM in Frankfurt. Meanwhile here are some useful links.

As you probably know WIPO (World Intellectual Property Association) regularly publishes information material, often on music and arts but also on print and digital. Have a look at this list of publications.

I found this paper a very good introduction to the copyright questions in printing: Educational Material on Collective Management of Copyright and Related Rights - Module 4: Management of rights in print and publishing. Unfortunately, there is nothing specific on the educational industry.

Most of you will be familiar with the WIPO study on limitations and Exceptions. If not, here is the link to the revised 2015 study.

Network Meeting in Tel Aviv, 7th to 10th September

The network meeting took place in a very unusual weather situation.

2015 09 07 Tel Aviv Sandsturm.jpg

But thanks to our hosts CET it was a great success. It was attended by 13 publishing houses. Most of he presentations can be downloaded from the EEPG website.

The keynote was given by Beth Martin who talked about what works and what doesn't in digital developments. Her presentation: "Reframing challenges for success" can also be downloaded.

Before the actual start of the conference, the members had a chance to participate in a presentation of ed tech start up finalists from Israel. Sintija Buhanovska was part of the judges' panel and I participated in a panel discussion on the future of educational publishing, new players, disruptiveness, etc. Here are some impressions from the competition.

It will be interesting to see whether any of the winners will fare in the global competition and finally, whether they really make it as a start-up.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we had presentations from the publishers as well as several presentations from MindCET (CET's R&D and innovation centre). Again, it became apparent, how different the situation in Europe (and the world) still is. On the one hand, you have the very conservative markets, which are partly regulated by government or simply lack the infrastructure, on the other hand you have the very advanced systems like in Israel or Denmark where digital materials have long become a matter of fact. You can see in the presentations, where the individual countries stand.

In this context, I'd like to quote Soren Peter Sorenson and Claes Sonderriis from Systime who in their presentation quoted Clayton M. Christensen: "You are either making a market or disrupting a market. Entering is usually the wrong way to go." Find out more about that here.

The conference showed again that many questions remain as yet unanswered. While we saw impressive developments in many countries, we still don't know whether we are really using the medium to its best (e-didactics). Do we pay enough attention to research into adaptivity and the use of the medium and its consequences?

Pictures from the actual conference and the wonderful excursion to Jerusalem will be added to the online version of this newsletter.

The OECD report

You are probably all familiar with this report by the OECD, which gives more food for thought.

Here are some more articles picking up on the issue:
CNBC: Schools wasting money on computers.
BBC: Computers do not improve pupils' results.
ABC: School computer use may be affecting literacy and numeracy skills.

Spotlight on educational news from around the world

In future newsletters, I would like to continue what I have started here with Spotlight .... For that to be successful and comprehensive, I need your help. Please do keep me informed about what is going on in your country. Here is just a small sample of what is going on in- and outside of Europe in education and educational publishing:

  • In Austria, a new digital textbook system is planned to start in 2016/17. One system for all publishers, schools, teachers and pupils. New curricula are being introduced, especially for levels 9-13.
  • In Brazil, a new bill was introduced which encourages OER for Government purchases of educational resources. At the same time governmental funds for educational resources are decreasing. In 2015 no students received books from government programs.
  • In France, there will also be extensive changes to the curriculum for the new school year starting September 2016: 9 levels, all topics. However, there are still no concrete curricula texts available for the publishers to prepare materials. A new public digital platform with free content is also planned to go along with the new curricula.
  • In Italy, the teachers are the oldest in Europe. Find out how your country compares here.
  • In Slovenia, the government has invested 3 million for the purchase of textbooks after a long period of very low investment. The Ministry of Education is working with the publishers to develop a textbook policy.
  • Norway has the highest integration of ICT in schools worldwide, yet the OECD has concluded integration does not appear to be improving literacy and numeracy.

The Georg Eckert Institute

The GEI is a German institute conducting research into textbooks and learning materials, mainly in history, social studies, religion and German. I mention it here for two reasons, a: the EEPG has long been a member of the advisory committee and b: because at the annual advisory board meeting, the GEI introduced this tool which I think can be very useful for all of us. It is brand new and sometimes has issues with a Mac (columns don't align, etc), but a lot of resources have been put in, and I think it gives a great overview on curricula worldwide.

IARTEM conference

As you know, the BELMA is co-organized by IARTEM, the International Association for Research on Textbooks and Educational Media.
Until now, the only connection really was through one of the IARTEM members being represented on the jury of BELMA. However, we have now agreed with the new Secretary of IARTEM, Ommund C. Vareberg from the HBV in Norway to get a more active cooperation going, and I will regularly update you on their research. For current publications and activities see here.

Their bi-annual conference was held in Berlin this year.
While a lot of the workshops and talks were academic, there were one or two interesting workshops that might impact on the future of textbook publishing if the ideas and methods presented will spread. I'd like you to look at this school that publishes its own materials and sells them through the App store. Whether this is successful or not is not the issue, but it is interesting to note that this example shows just another way of disseminating materials while by-passing the publisher.

Bi-annual conference (update)

I wrote in the last newsletter that the topics of the bi-annual EEPG conference open to non-members would probably centre around digital and OER. However, in the light of the OECD publication mentioned above and the outcome of the conference in Tel Aviv, it has since transpired that there are other topics equally interesting and probably more pressing. One of them is the relation between teachers and publishers. The conference could very well centre on these issues and try to answer the following questions:

  • How can teachers be motivated to use the whole range of products that publishers and producers of educational materials are offering?
  • Does the way we present materials have to change?
  • Should publishers offer more teacher training and if so, what are the best ways?

If you would like to host next years conference, please contact me.

BELMA 2015/2016

BELMA participation is down this year from last year and back to the level of 2013. However, the re-organization in four categories and no special category for digital works well, there were sufficient entries for all categories.

I was at the jury meeting in Denmark and I was very impressed by both the quality and the diversity of the materials submitted. However, it is necessary to increase the number of participants to be able to keep the high quality of the evaluations.

At the AGM, we will discuss means of making BELMA more attractive for publishers outside the EEPG. The BELMA as a marketing tool has not reached its full potential. At the ceremony, Christoph Bläsi will concentrate in his speech on criteria. We will make the evaluation process more transparent and are planning a better mailing before registration next year.

Dates for AGM and BELMA Awards

Save the date:

AGM: Tuesday 13th of October at 14:00 in the Novotel, Lise-Meitner-Straße 2, 60486 Frankfurt am Main. Please note that we have booked the room for 4 hours, so please allow enough time.

BELMA presentation at the Frankfurt Bookfair: Wednesday 14th October at 16:00 in hall 4, educational forum.

Useful links

Here are some links you might like to explore:

Booktrack (The CEO is also speaking at the Frankfurt Book fair)

This article about New York's department of education and a deal with Amazon is a bit older but it might be worth following up on:
Many of you are probably already familiar with the ABC project, the Accessible Books Consortium.

PISA explained here.

More on International Teachers Day.

Here are some interesting facts about how to cheat in MOOCS.

ICT in the classroom, some statistics and some tech problems worth thinking about.

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E-Mail: helga.holtkamp@eepg.org