Centre to set up national board for publication of school books

Centre to set up national board for publication of school books

Centre to set up national board for publication of school books

The Centre plans to set up a national board for publication of school textbooks and also allow higher educational institutions to establish their own units for publication of academic journals and books.

It also proposes to set up publishing units in public private partnership framework to augment the textbook publication capacity to meet the “ever growing” demands and timely supply of books to students.

The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry is in the process of finalising a new policy for publication and promotion of books with an aim to improve availability, accessibility and quality as well as inculcate book reading habit among students.

Giving its view on the draft policy, the Commerce Ministry has suggested that book publishing should be recognised as a priority sector on the grounds: “(a) It is associated with the educational development of the country, (b) It is a labour intensive industry which provides employment to people from all walks of society.”

During an inter-ministerial consultation, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) told the government that book publishing activities were categorised under service sector under Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMED) Act, 2006. “Further, in terms of the RBI’s extant guidelines on lending to priority sector, bank loan up to an aggregate credit limit of Rs 5 crore per unit to micro and small enterprises engaged in providing or rendering of services and defined in terms of investment in equipment under the MSMED Act are eligible to be classified under the priority sector,” RBI added.

To facilitate teaching and learning in mother tongue in schools and colleges, the draft policy proposes to launch a “national mission to give institutional support” to translation and publication of textbooks in Indian languages for students.

“All universities will be encouraged to set up their own publishing facilities,” the draft report said. At present, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) publishes school textbooks. The Central Board of Secondary Education also publishes some books.

If the government goes ahead with its draft policy in its current format, the proposed National Board of School Textbooks (NBST) will take over the responsibility of school text books. The NCERT’s role then will remain limited to providing consultation to the NBST.
The NBST will prepare its plans for publication of textbooks and execute them in collaboration with the state governments and bodies like the NCERT, the draft policy says.

The proposed policy also seeks to create a pool of professionally qualified personnel in publishing sector. To achieve this, The certificate courses, diploma programmes and postgraduate management degrees in book designing, publishing, e-publishing and marketing will be introduced at higher educational institutions.

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