Pearson may be scrapping physical textbooks in favour of e-books but SA is ready for the change

"It is time to flick the switch."
"It is time to flick the switch."

Pearson, one of the biggest publishers of educational material, has announced that they will no longer be printing textbooks, reports the BBC.

The publishers say they will now be making textbooks available in the form of e-books or rented second-hand versions, their motivation a combination of financial concerns and market trends. 

"Over half our annual revenues come from digital sales, so we've decided a little bit like in other industries like newspapers or music or in broadcast that it is time to flick the switch in how we primarily make and create our products," explained Pearson CEO, John Fallon. 

He also added that textbooks as they are now "will become a progressively smaller part of the learning experience."  

The BBC notes that "Pearson's digital products are sold on a subscription basis," and that the e-book plan will be implemented in the US first, then globally. 

Also see: Useful study resources for all grades in SA

SA's digital textbook plan 

The announcement comes just as Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, shared the future of textbooks in South Africa at the 2019 Basic Education Budget Vote Speech

"We have digitised approximately 90% of textbooks for high enrolment subjects – such as Mathematics, Physical Science, and Accounting; as well as 100% of workbooks and Graded Readers."

The Minister also reported that in addition to digitised textbooks, coding and robotics classes would commence next year, and that 100 special needs schools will be equipped with Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) "infrastructure and connectivity." 

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