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Education Technology

Polish Government To Deliver Free Textbooks For All Kids Grades 4-6 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the have-a-book-grzegorz dept.
rekrutacja writes "Today the Polish government started a Digital School pilot program, which includes distributing e-textbooks. This came after a years-long effort by the Open Education Coalition and its members to persuade policy makers, that Open Educational Resources are the future of education. The last few months have been especially eventful, as the free textbooks part of the program was dropped by the Ministry of Education and reinstated again by the Prime Minister Office."
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Polish Government To Deliver Free Textbooks For All Kids Grades 4-6

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  • That's advanced (Score:5, Informative)

    by symbolset (646467) * on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:23AM (#39569207) Journal
    The India government is looking to deliver K-12 education to a half billion kids in the next decade, if they can get Android tablets at $40 each. I wish them luck. Right now the price point is $128 for a 7" tablet. The education is, of course, free - thanks to the diligent work of Michael Hart (may he rest in peace!)
    • by Tsingi (870990)
      I got a 7" Android from Hong Kong for $99 6 months ago. $40.00 isn't that far off.

      It works fine.

    • Re:That's advanced (Score:4, Interesting)

      by horza (87255) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @07:12AM (#39569855) Homepage

      Android tablets are going for under $90 new on ebay (average price for 7" tablet appears to be £55). However combine something like the Raspberry Pi with the plastic eink display by LG that Slashdot was covering a couple of days ago and I don't see why it wouldn't be possible to halve that. Forward-wind into the future where those printable solar cells could be put on the back of the eReader to make them totally self-powered and we have the perfect educational delivery device for developing countries. It takes time to build up a library of good quality content so it makes sense to start now. In a few years when the library catalogue has filled out then technology might have caught up at the same time.

      Phillip.

      • by weazzle (1084967)
        I imagine India's desire for mass distribution makes eBay prices irrelevant. However, if you want to work with me on producing the product you described, perhaps we could sell it to the Indian government, and retire by 2020.
  • by excelsior_gr (969383) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:30AM (#39569231)

    The article doesn't mention for which e-book reader the textbooks will be available. I hope this is not part of someone's marketing strategy...

    Free textbooks in Europe is not new, however. E.g. the Greek state has been giving away dead-tree textbooks for all classes for free since decades now.

    • Re:Good for them! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:50AM (#39569301)

      yeah since they are available as CC-BY with sources that means any reader
      from the site with the books http://wolnelektury.pl/
      PDF to print
      EPUB for an e-book reader
      MOBI for Kindle
      TXT for advanced usage
      and
      Source of the book
      Source XML file
      Book on Editor's Platform
      Mix this book

    • by cbope (130292)

      Yeah, I have to wonder if this was in America... it would be Apple pushing this hard so they can sell an iPad to every student for $500-600/pop and get them addicted to app store crack...

      But, since this is Europe, I'm fairly sure it will be an open format that can be used on many different e-readers and tablets and not locked into a single vendor.

    • Free textbooks are the norm in Europe, we have a strange system where textbooks that are mass printed for education are cheaper than regular textbooks, and educational systems negotiate a discount and get it ...

      Unlike the Free Market system in the USA where the manufacturers make specific books for Education, unsuited to the requirements of the curriculum, massively overcharge for them, and make sure they change from year to year so new ones have to be purchased ...

      • You're obviously thinking about university.

        K-12 textbooks in the USA are issued by the school, and returned at the end of the year.

  • CC BY (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:36AM (#39569249)

    from the article (in Polish):

    all these resources will be available under CC BY [creativecommons.org], which is compliant with the Definition of Free Cultural Works.

  • Use Polish notation?
    Then they can program with a Lisp.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Use Polish notation?
      Then they can program with a Lisp.

      Wouldn 't that be Polith nothathion?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    'Rekrutacja' guy is in reality Jarosaw Lipszyc, which is also author of wikipedia article about the subject, is mentioned as the guy proposing entire programme to the government and seems to be the 'owner' of the foundation itself. It is official 'charity' foundation registered in Poland, so it is eligible for 1% tax donation - and we still have till 30th of April to decide where 1% of our tax goes to.

    April is month where charity organizations in Poland fight for their lives. While I applaud the idea of fre

    • by rekrutacja (647394) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @06:29AM (#39569723) Homepage

      That is so true! I feel really bad because now you exposed all my dirty secrets. I lobbied governement all those years to accept this program exactly yesterday, because i want to advertise on Slashdot, and win all those 1% donations. I will use this money for champagne, caviar and orbital trips. I'm also a member of Majestic 12, and work for New World Order, for full disclosure :-)

  • Polish Government To Deliver Free Textbooks

    Don't elementary schools provide free textbooks, not only in Poland, but pretty much the wold over?

    "Polish Elementary Schools switching to e-books" would be more accurate.

    • by silanea (1241518)
      The books have been "free" for the students in the sense that they did not have to pay directly for them, but the schools certainly paid a lot for them, and because of copyright restrictions altering the material or reusing parts of it has been a minefield, with publishers having grown increasingly litigious over the last years. The initiative provides the books free in both senses (free beer and free speech) to the schools so they only pay for the actual costs they incur for distribution - almost nothing f
  • ...if you give it free early on.. it looses its importance.

  • My daughter, sixth grade, can get to a few of her textbooks online right now. It would be nice if they offered them in a non-proprietary format to load them on her Kindle. Sounds like the Polish Government is onto something here.

  • Certainly someone has to pay for them, right?
  • 0.01$ Socialism never works.

    0.01$ Polish people I know are very unhappy about their government; they say it the worst one after communism was overthrown; they have also had a lot of bitter remarks about public education. (Actually some people in Poland are on hunger strike now protesting against the removal of history lessons.) So this "free" stuff looks like the goverment is trying to improve their PR.

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