At School, At Work

E-textbook subsidy mooted

E-textbook subsidy mooted

May 07, 2012

To encourage non-profit-making publishers to develop electronic textbooks, the Government has proposed a scheme to provide them with seeding grants, Secretary for Education Michael Suen says.
Briefing the media today, Mr Suen said e-textbooks could be a desirable alternative to highly priced printed textbooks as their cost is 20% to 50% lower. The Government should also play a more pro-active role in promoting the use of  e-textbooks to diversify the market and address the current textbook-market monopoly, he noted. 
The Education Bureau is proposing to provide a seeding grant on a 50:50 matching basis to successful non-profit making applicants under the scheme. The grant will be subject to a cap of about $4 million for each e-textbooks set, or 50% of the development cost, whichever is less.
The Government proposes to earmark $50 million to launch the scheme, which would help non-profit making organisations to develop at least 12 e-textbooks sets, Mr Suen said.
Applications will be invited at the end of the second quarter, subject to the Legislative Council's funding approval. The e-textbooks are expected to be launched in early 2014 for the earliest use in the 2014/15 school year.
About 50 primary and secondary schools will use the e-textbooks on a trial basis, he said. The Government will help the partner schools to upgrade their IT facilities where necessary.
Mr Suen said the bureau will conduct a review in the 2014/15 school year to examine the scheme's effectiveness.

Greater choice: The Government should play a more pro-active role in promoting the use of  e-textbooks to diversify the market, the Secretary for Education Michael Suen said.

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