A continual issue confronting nations which seek to rapidly expand educational opportunities for children is the cost of instructional materials. In particular, textbooks are a costly item for parents in nations struggling to become modernized. The Indonesian government has come up with an innovative program of handling this issue. It has purchased the copyrights for standardized textbooks used from grade school to senior high school and beginning in August will post them online for easy and convenient downloading. This “book reform program” eliminates the state monopoly of publishers.
The Indonesian Education Ministry estimates cost of tetbooks each semester is about $21.06 which is not affordable for most Indonesian parents. There was widesperead outcry against the practice of publishers “revising” textbooks each semester to avoid having the previous year books being recycled. The Ministry policy from now on is “there will be no monopoly on book writing, reproducing, publishing and distribution by the government or other parties.”
The government is also allocating money to assist parents in downloading materials. This is an important step in ensuring children throughout the world access textbooks. In many Third World nations paying money for books is simply beyond the capacity of parents. The Indonesian government should be congragulated on its innovative idea.