Textbooks can be a headache...

16.01.2011 01:00

As anyonewho has been to school knows, textbooks are always a matter of some interest.
In some countries, the book is issued by the government, and there is no othermedium of teaching for any subject. Although, if teachers feel particularlybrave, they can bring their own mass of photocopies, which they would probably haveto make, as well. In these systems, the students burn the book at the end ofthe year, because it is a symbol of all that is wrong in their educationsystem: the existence of a single publication means the issuing body often seesno need to compete and produce the best publication, leaving the students withtheir mouths wide open and yawning, and the message, lost in the nebula ofpernickety sentences that don’t really make sense, but are somehow stillincluded in the book.
Other systems are different; in some, there is no approved book at all: at theend of each year, each teacher receives a load of new books, and from these, heor she must pick the one they wish to teach from, which is then communicated tothe students. In those cases, the reactions of both students and parents areknown: the former groan because they already know what it will feel like to becarrying five or six of these to school every day. The latter groan becausepurchasing these heavy items will lighten their wallets considerably. In somecountries, the financial burden of buying those excellent books can easily comeup to $500 (350 EUR) per SEMESTER. This is not to say that textbooks are notworth the money; some are excellent publications, and probably worth more thantheir actual price. They are just expensive

And yetboth of these are reprehensible extremes; if education, and training, is apublic good, then it must be possible for individuals to have access to qualitymaterials easily, straightforwardly, and at a relatively affordable price.

And isn’tit just lucky that, while on the subject of books, we can report that the new ECo-Ctraining works are now being published in German? The Dec. 10thmeeting was also the unveiling of t. 1 of the new Communication &Self-marketing companion work that matches curriculum 1.2z, with the Team Workand Conflict Management volume to follow in another month. From what we cantell, those particular books have been coordinated with significant attentionpaid to the slightest detail. Not only were they overseen by an expert, Dr.Silvia Wolf, a member of the IPKeuropeadvisory board, but they were illustrated by Austrian painter Erwin Kastner,and published in a 208p edition hardcover.

Their pricehas yet to be announced, as it happens, but we at ECo-C.eu believe there is asilver lining here: to the extent where these books were created by the ECo-C’sgoverning authority, which is IPKeurope,they will not suffer from the critical flaw of quality textbooks, which is anoverabundance of competitive writers, who between them manage to issue new,slightly-updated versions of crucial textbooks per semester. In the end, aquality publication that does cost an arm and a leg and is good for a few yearsis the dream of any faithful student, and we, who are interested in as fluid ascience as communications, should rejoice: we are all, at heart, students.

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