FICCI hosts first-ever children’s publishing conclave ‘Sc rapbook’


FICCI’s first edition of “Scrapbook – Children’s Publishing Conclave” was dedicated to address policy concerns of both sides – government and industry, to explore public–private partnerships and cater to the education material requirements of such a large nation, discussion on best practices to enhance the learning outcome. K-12 publishing is almost 70% of overall publishing sectors and is also important from the literacy perspective. It has direct impact on government’s largest mandate in education –“Right to Education.”Under the Right to Education policy, government’s focus is to provide quality content and teaching methodology to enhance the learning outcome.

In his keynote address, Baldeo Bhai Sharma, chairman, NBT, India, Ministry of HRD, Government of India, underlined the importance of nurturing creativity and innovation in children at an early age for the economic and spiritual development of the nation. “There is a need to move beyond textbooks and inculcate in children the spirit of humanity and empathy towards society,” he added.

In his special address, Dr. Hrushikesh Senapaty, director, NCERT, said that there is a need to shift educational learning for children from content mastery to competency mastery, where competencies should be classified into character, intellectual and social. It is vital to make the classroom process vibrant where teachers would act as a facilitator providing children with an opportunity to develop and strengthen their competencies and communication ability

Appreciating FICCI’s initiative, Dr. Senapaty said that the goal of the publishing conclave is to develop quality and innovative content for children, which would enable them to learn in a collaborative ecosystem.

While, Dr. A. Didar Singh, the then secretary general and advisor to FICCI president, said that FICCI has instituted this platform to explore possible collaboration between various actors of the ecosystem including children content creators, publishers, offline and online service providers, technology disrupters, teachers, schools, parents, children, and policy makers.

In her theme address, Urvashi Butalia, chair – FICCI Publishing Committee and director, Zubaan, said that the conclave focused on policy advocacy to nurture collaboration between schools, government and children’s publishers to enhance learning outcome in educational space.

In his closing address, Ratnesh Jha, co chair, FICCI Publishing Committee and MD, Cambridge University Press mentioned, “Publishers, schools and learners have to co-create the knowledge economy. We need to build democratic values and practice it in and through publishing.”

Content liberalization

This session highlighted the important aspect of child’s individual learning requirements, and the vital role publishers can play in addressing the same if children are given the right to choose the content. School representatives who were present in large numbers echoed the sentiment that choice of study material and other children content must not be restricted. Kulbhushan Sharma, president, National Independent School alliance, said, “Govt should facilitate book publication but must not control. Content must not be compromised.”L to R: Sumeet Gupta, senior director, FICCI; Ratnesh Jha, co chair, FICCI Publishing Committee and MD, Cambridge University Press; Baldeo Bhai Sharma, chairman, NBT, India, Ministry of HRD, Government of India; Urvashi Butalia, chair – FICCI Publishing Committee and director, Zubaan; Dr. Hrushikesh Senapaty, director, NCERT; Dr A Didar Singh, the then secretary general and advisor to FICCI president.

To enhance the quality of the learning outcome it’s necessary that children get books in sync with their receptivity level. Monika Malhotra Kandhari, MD, MBD Group mentioned, “Selection of books should be based on quality of content and not on pricing alone.”

Of late, concerns have been raised regarding the cost of the children’s books, to which government had responded with efforts to make NCERT books available through online medium. The forum agreed that there is requirement to bring balance. Himanshu Gupta, MD, S Chand Group added, “There will be more students going to private schools as opposed public schools; private players are willing to collaborate with government.”

Schools have raised training related issues associated with books and appreciated support system provided by private publishers. Rajesh Malhotra of Sainath Public School added, “Training of teachers is an important aspect where private publishers can help schools in capacity building.”

Other areas of discussion

A panel on gender misrepresentation in children’s books moderated by Urvashi Butalia, chair – FICCI Publishing Committee and director, Zubaan discussed the important points publishers should keep in mind while developing the children’s content towards bringing gender neutrality in children’s content. Panel also shared useful insights on how misinterpretation of the neutral content leads to misconceptions.

L to R: Kulbhushan Sharma, president, National Independent School Alliance; Himanshu Gupta, MD, S Chand Group; Ratnesh Jha, co chair, FICCI Publishing Committee and MD, Cambridge University Press; Monika Malhotra Kandhari, MD, MBD Group, Naveen Gupta, mg partner, Arya Publications and Rajesh Malhotra, leader, Sainath Public School.
In her keynote address on Harnessing Multiple intelligence with content leading psychologist Aruna Broota mentioned, “Publishers must focus on developing the content to enhance children’s imagination.” In the same session other panelists highlighted best practices of multiple intelligence theory for enhancing learning outcome.

The session Promoting Book Reading amongst 140 Characters Twitter Generation highlighted benefits associated with the reading habits. The panelists shared importance of giving liberty to children to choose the book without any peer pressure. This would help children to enjoy books, develop their own choice for the content, and further identify their interest areas to build career in future.

Distinguished panel of technology stalwarts committed to facilitate learning outcome with advance use of technology presented their views in Session on Technology Play – Books, Screens and Education. They shared the global best practices and upcoming trends for the content to be digitally produced and consumed.

Children’s sessions

Scrapbook also invited students from various schools across Delhi NCR to attend experimental learning workshops organized on creative writing, storytelling, session on comics, and sensitizing children about respecting intellectual property (IP). During these workshops, enthusiasm was shown not only by the participating children, but also by their respective schools.

The main purpose of organizing these workshops was to observe, measure and present experiential learning concepts to introduce new ways of delivering the content. Experts believe that experiential learning presents the opportunity for children to understand and appreciate complicated concepts.

The first edition of Scrapbook has opened the opportunity for possible cooperation between government, private publishers, and the schools.

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