Suzanne Singh, Chairperson, Pratham Books was invited to be part of a discussion on the Global Book Fund at CIES 2016 in Vancouver.
The Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), Inc., was founded in 1956 to foster cross-cultural understanding, scholarship, academic achievement and societal development through the international study of educational ideas, systems, and practices.
The Global Book Fund is a groundbreaking initiative with a wide range of partners that is building on experience from health sector commodity reform to transform the development, procurement and distribution of books for the education sector. It is expected that Book Fund activities will increase book quality and availability while decreasing costs. The initial focus will be on books for reading instruction and practice in underserved languages.
The three Book Fund panels at CIES this year updated CIES participants on progress and engaged them in contributing to improving and increasing content, transforming approaches to financing and procurement and modernizing approaches to supply chain management to ensure Books For Every Child.
The lack of high quality textbooks, reading books and library materials in languages children understand in many countries has produced a learning crisis: “Of the world’s 650 million primary school age children, at least 250 million are not learning the basics in reading and mathematics . . . 130 million of these children are in primary school but have not achieved the minimum benchmarks for learning (UNESCO EFA GMR, 2014).”
Michelle Malecki presented the two prototypes of “track&trace” technology that USAID is piloting to improve book distribution and management.
Paul Frank, SIL LEAD and Suzanne, presented and discussed the open source software packages that their respective organizations had developed and engaged the audience in a conversation about encouraging access by local authors and large scale uptake.