Let’s choose quality textbooks for the pride of future!

Raghu Ramakrishnan Aiyar, Executive Senior Vice President, Amity University Press, shares his views on the textbook publishing industry in India and more in conversation with Varsha Verma.

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Raghu Ramakrishnan Aiyar, Executive Senior Vice President, Amity University Press
Raghu Ramakrishnan Aiyar, Executive Senior Vice President, Amity University Press

Textbook publishing is at the crossroad today as government wants private publishers to go steady on the cost of textbooks, easy accessibility and availability. “On the other hand, it is also asking NCERT to come with greater quality books at much lower prices, besides making them compulsory for schools to buy NCERT books. The Private Publishers, Trade, Schools and Parents are a confused lot. They are not sure whether they are coming or going! On one hand, they want the best of books and on the other hand they do not want to be hauled up for not following the guidelines. Stocks vs. Sales, has been a total mismatch.

Sales vs. Growth has touched an all-time nadir. In all these happenings, the child suffers. For no fault, at all. Honestly, do we need all these?” asks Raghu Ramakrishynan Aiyar.

Importance of books in a child’s life

“The main player is the child. The process of knowledge and learning culture must be made most friendly and enjoyable for the child. Sure, books are an important thrust force. We need to get the children in to the comfort zone of books and more books. This implies that publishers should be given a free-hand and parents be allowed to go for textbooks of their choice and their publishers. The moment compulsion and force comes in, you can be rest assured you have lost the interest of the child,” opines Aiyar.

Textbook publishing, Schools & Trade link…

Textbook publishing is a more trade-centric business. “It is time that the Trade and the Publishing houses work with a greater sense of responsibility and trust. It is time they think about quality and not just discounts,” he says. Another important aspect he mentions is that the school Heads and decision-makers should be more involved in accessing the qualitative textbooks. “They should spend quality time towards selecting right books and not leave the entire matter to trade.”

Content development

All textbooks should have the top most priority in qualitative content development. This is vital. “Adhering to the syllabi of the respective Boards is another important aspect. The author should have a proven track record, both in assessing the needs of the books and presenting the same in a childfriendly manner. Production value is vital. Illustrations should speak for itself-layouts pleasing to the eye and attractive to the child. Pricing of the book (now, a very important aspect in decision making) should be competitive and totally in sync with the cost of bringing out the book. Sure, nobody works for love and fresh air. Therefore, the Publishers should earn their mark-up,” adds Aiyar.

Complete education at home

Aiyar also stresses on the importance of parents in the education of the child. “The best phase of life is childhood and complete education germinates at the home front. Schools give the formal education. Complete education with moral values, certainly is the domain of home front,” feels Aiyar. “So, the more years they spend with their parents at home, the more they learn.” In my opinion, formal education should begin at 5 years of age. Let him/her observe first to develop creative thinking. We often talk about the four skills of learning – RWSL (Reading Writing Speaking and Listening) but fail to include Observing, which is vital to all learning skills,” he says.

The responsibility of parents do not end with the child starting the school going stage. In fact, it is the beginning.

Monitoring the progress and evaluating the same from timeto- time also is very important. In every possible way, the parents must make an effort to know what exactly is the progress level of the child. Eventually, the parents will need to assess the child in terms of the progress being made at the school level. In essence, it means spending quality time with the child,” adds Aiyar.

On AUP…

“We have recently launched a set of freebies, which include 100 Most Commonly Used series, which include Phrasal Verbs, Metaphors, Similies and Idioms. We also offer Spellbound for classes 1& 2 and Classes 3 to 5. There is also a booklet on Determiners,” tells Aiyar.

“Besides, we have started regional publishing programme for different regions and low cost publishing programme for B and C class cities. We have also introduced a number of graphic storybooks in AUP Mythology series. We have also started retail selling with Amazon in a big way and have made a foray into ebooks,” he further updates.

Redesigned AUP website

Amity University Press has come up with a new website providing a lot of useful information. Besides finding the complete list of books published by AUP and their price, parents and teachers can also glance through the list of events or workshops organized by AUP at different places in India. These events are aimed at teachers and students both. “The impact of these workshops is manifold. The participant teachers can learn how to arouse curiosity among young learners, how to create love of a difficult subject like mathematics and to show how to approach various problems.

Interested parents can also be aware of these programmes and let their children’s school principals know about AUP’s various initiatives for school education,” he explains.

Amity University

Amity University is ranked amongst the top 3% universities globally by QS and THE – the world’s leading university rankings organisations. It is also ranked India’s no.1 not-for-profit private university for six times by the India Today university rankings survey. Amity is proud to come out as Asia’s only notfor- profit university to get US Regional Accreditation – the gold standard for accreditation globally. We are a part of the Amity Education Group which was established about 25 years ago. Today Amity as an education provider is home to over 150,000 students studying from prenursery to PhD levels at its 10 universities, 25 schools and 10 international campuses in London, Singapore, Dubai, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Mauritius, Amsterdam, China, Abu Dhabi, South Africa, Nairobi and Romania. This is a glorious journey altogether.

Amity’s relentless pursuit of excellence is reflected in its steadfast commitment towards cutting-edge research. For instance, Amity has filed the highest number of patents in India (only after all 23 IITs together) as per the Annual Report (2016-17) of the Controller General of Patents, Govt. of India. It is also engaged in conducting over 300 hi-end Govt. funded and international research projects. “Yes, it’s such a comfort feeling to piggy-ride on Amity Brand,” says Aiyar.

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