CBSE should collaborate with private publishers to improve quality of education

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New Delhi: India’s economic growth is booming and it is rightly listed among the fastest growing economies in the world. However, India still has a lot to catch up when it comes to education. There is a need of imminent focus from various boards, especially CBSE, to improve the quality of education thereby leading to inclusive growth.

Although in India, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has been actively participating in reforms in examinations and evaluation practices and working on taking the Indian education system notch higher, it also needs disruption in the quality of education. CBSE must look at partnering with the private publishers to tap their resources, expertise and encourage to become part of development. In sectors such as healthcare, the government has come a long way through private public partnerships (PPP) with the private sector to disrupt the way medication is delivered, therefore there are many learning from these partnerships which can help the education sector to move towards providing quality and world class learning experience.

In the education sector, several dimensions account for the quality of education, including teachers, infrastructure, delivery pedagogy and the quality of content and curriculum. Specific to quality of content, NCERT textbooks cannot fill the gap but only widen it. By partnering with private publishers, CBSE can significantly expand the scope of content and achieve quality at scale.

Schools and teachers are the best judges for content
Instead of just relying on NCERT textbooks, schools and teachers need options to choose world class content. While NCERT provides a worthy guideline for CBSE examination, it needs to be supplemented with books from private publishers since it equips the students with not only the theory but experiences in the form of latest examples, illustrations, case studies, etc. This is required by students to prepare for future.

Quality is paramount
The importance of private publishers cannot be underestimated. In addition to equipping students and teachers with workshops, teacher resource material, lesson plans, digital content, web support, worksheets, and question papers, the publishing industry brings the best of editors, digital content creators and developers to create international quality books. Imagine delivering this content to both cities and rural areas in a subsidized manner. The publishing industry alone cannot achieve this and there is a need for both the government and private publishers to partner and mutually benefit from each other.

Necessity is the mother of innovation and education is no different. 2018 is the year of transformation, especially with initiatives like Digital India. And rightly so, private publishers are making great strides in order to transform education in India. Not only are they helping in providing quality education, they are also generating jobs in the education sector. However, this transformation is incomplete without the government playing an active role in the delivery of quality education.

Furthermore, partnerships with private publishers will also help the government meet the high demand of books since private publishers print books at scale as per the demand and requirements of schools through their network of stockists, distributors and retailers besides their own infrastructure. A subsidy model or incentivization can result in lowering the cost of books from private publishers.

A mutually beneficial partnership model coupled with strong governance is required to make education and quality content more affordable.