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Our Experience in Assisting Developing Countries to Develop Their Textbook Industry


Brunei Darussalam. China. United States. Malaysia. Caribbean. Pakistan. Vietnam ... Brunei Darussalam. 14 June 2006. 36. A member of Times Publishing Limited ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Our Experience in Assisting Developing Countries to Develop Their Textbook Industry

Our Experience in Assisting Developing Countries
to Develop Their Textbook Industry
  • Vital Statistics of Singapore
  • Book Chain in Singapore
  • Evolution of Textbook Publishing
  • International Collaboration
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • China
  • United States
  • Malaysia
  • Caribbean
  • Pakistan
  • Vietnam
  • Thailand Indonesia
  • Moving Forward

Vital Statistics of Singapore
Source Singapore Department of Statistics
(www.singstat.gov.sg) on 20 May 2005.
Singapores View on Education
  • Multi-racial Society
  • 77 Chinese
  • 14 Malays
  • 8 Indians
  • 1 Others
  • People as our only natural resources.
  • Since self-government (1959), education in
    Singapore has always played a dual role of
    supporting economic growth and promoting social

Book Chain in Singapore
The Book Chain in Singapore
National Standard
School Curriculum
Assessment/ Examination
Textbook Publisher
The Book Chain in Singapore
Author / Editor
Textbook Publisher
The Book Chain in Singapore
Textbook Publisher
School Adoption
The Book Chain in Singapore
Textbook Publisher
The Book Chain in Singapore
National Standard
School Curriculum
Assessment/ Examination
Author / Editor
Textbook Publisher
School Adoption
The Book Chain in Singapore
National Standard
School Curriculum
Assessment/ Examination
Author / Editor
Textbook Publisher
School Adoption
Evolution of Textbook Publishing
Evolution of Textbook Publishing
1959 - 1980
1981 - 2000
2000 Onwards
  • 1965, Singapore achieved Independence.
  • 1967, EPB was set up under the MOE to publish

CDIS was set up under the MOE to develop
curriculum and co-publish textbooks with
Liberalisation of textbook publishing.
The Initial Years
The Co-publishing Era
Textbook Liberalisation
The Initial Years
The Initial Years
  • Vernacular Schools
  • showed strong orientation towards the respective
    countries where our forefathers came from
  • High Unemployment (Post-war Years)
  • job opportunities limited in private sector
  • those in public sector required people reasonably
    proficient in the English language
  • High Cost of (Imported) Books

Affordable Textbooks
  • Textbooks were expensive as most of them were
    imported. The values were diverse and may not
    have served Singapore well.
  • Education Publication Bureau (EPB) was set up in
    1967 under the MOE to provide
  • affordable textbooks
  • common textbooks to promote national cohesion,
    and to provide a common message for nation
  • EPB took over the publication of Chinese
    textbooks and later all Mother-Tongue textbooks.
  • MOE deliberately brought the price down
  • students are required to buy textbooks

  • Introduced bilingualism to tackle the problem of
    Chinese, Malay, and Tamil education.
  • English
  • Mother-Tongue (C, M, T)
  • Singapore Government recognised that English
    Language will be the key international language
    of communication.
  • English became the language of instruction and
    medium of communication amongst the ethnic
  • Produced better educated and suitably equipped
    workforce to meet the manpower needs of an
    industrialising and modernising economy.

Features of Education Policies
  • A common curriculum for all school subjects in
    the four language media.
  • A common training for all teachers at the
    Teachers Training College.
  • Institution of common examinations
  • PSLE
  • Cambridge School Certificate Examination
  • Cambridge HSC Examination
  • kept links to the Cambridge examinations in order
    to maintain high standards which would be
    recognised world wide

Publishing Industry
  • Curriculum was prescribed to the schools via
    syllabuses issued by MOE.
  • However, schools still have a free hand in
    selecting their own textbooks from the many books
    available in the market.
  • Publishers published textbooks that conform to
    the syllabuses.

The Co-publishing Era
The Co-publishing Era
  • MOE set up the Curriculum Development Institute
    of Singapore (CDIS).
  • 200300 teachers were co-opted from schools to
    become full-time textbook writers.
  • curriculum development remains the responsibility
    of Curriculum Development Division.
  • CDIS co-publishes 85 of the titles in the MOEs
    Approved Textbook List for use by pupils in

Benefits to the Publishing Houses
  • For subjects where the CDIS had jurisdiction, an
    agreement with publishers gives the textbooks
    currency for generally 10 years (unless changes
    made to syllabuses although not frequent).
  • guaranteed revenue for 10 years.
  • CDIS active involvement in textbook production
    and its close working relationship with
    publishers has ensured the high standard of
    instructional materials used in schools.

One of Our Partnership with CDIS
  • The PETS Series was used in Singapore by all
    schools for almost a decade starting from
    mid-1980s till mid-1990s.

Privatisation of EPB
  • EPB, the state-owned textbook publishing house,
    was privatised in the early 1980s.
  • It merged with Singapore National Printer to form
    SNP Education.
  • The privatisation of EPB allowed it to compete
    fairly with other commercial publishing houses
    for contracts with CDIS.

Textbook Liberalisation
  • With the standards of commercial publishing
    houses firmly established after 2 decades of
    close collaboration with CDIS, the MOE will no
    longer be involved in writing and producing
    instructional materials for most subjects in the
  • However, MOE will continue to develop the
    syllabuses for all subjects.

Ensuring High Standards
  • MOE maintains a rigorous textbook authorisation
    process to ensure high quality of the
    commercially produced instructional materials.
  • Only those that are approved by the MOE can be
    used in schools.
  • MOE also controls the price structure closely to
    ensure prices of textbooks and workbooks remains
    affordable to parents.

The Future, Now
  • By 2008, 90 of the textbooks and workbooks in
    schools will be produced by commercial
  • Instead of revising the syllabuses every 10 years
    during the CDIS era, now the syllabuses are
    reviewed and changed where necessary every 5-6
    years in order to capture and reflect the rapid
    changes of society and the economy.
  • Publishers are being approached to share our
    experiences in producing high quality and
    affordable instructional materials.

International Collaboration
Modes of Collaboration
  • Co-publishing with local publishers, distributors
    or Ministries of Education
  • Adaptation, localisation, and customisation of
    existing contents to suit local needs.
  • Adoption of our existing titles coupled with
    provision of teachers training workshops.

Adaptation, Localisation, and Customisation
  • Localisation is about providing content
    customised to local syllabus, together with an
    infusion of modern pedagogy in the textbook
  • Localisation is about respecting and highlighting
    local culture.
  • Localisation or adaptation of textbook packages
    is NOT about simply changing the language of
    instruction, nor about changing the illustrations
    in the books.

Countries where we co-published
we co-published textbooks with 11 countries …
Case Studies
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • China
  • United States
  • Malaysia
  • Caribbean
  • Pakistan
  • Vietnam
  • Thailand Indonesia

Brunei Darussalam
  • Singapore and Brunei have close bilateral
    relationship since 1960s, hence Panpac Education
    started its international publishing experience
    with the Brunei MOE in the early 1980s.
  • Panpac Education was invited to co-publish with
    the Brunei MOE in these subjects Bahasa Melayu,
    Science, Mathematics, History, Physics,
    Chemistry, and Biology.
  • Brunei MOE sets the syllabuses, Panpac Education
    engages authors to write and then publish the
    book, which will be sold by local Brunei
    distributors in that market.
  • In this instance, Brunei lack publishing
    capability, hence Panpac Education was invited to
    publish contents suitable for local needs.
  • Since then, we have been publishing for Brunei
    MOE for the last 20 years.

China, Liaoning Province
  • Panpac Education started working with the State
    Education Commission of Liaoning Province,
    northeast China since early 2001.
  • We first introduced our Mathematics and Science
    textbook packages that were all written in
    English and used by Singapore schools for their
  • They were very interested to use our contents but
    due to their lack of proficiency in the English
    Language, we suggested to them to have bilingual
  • We fully translated the contents in its original
    form into bilingual editions of Chinese and
    English Language and pilot them throughout the

United States
  • Panpac Education first entered the US through a
    local distributor distributing our Mathematics
    publications, mostly to primary and secondary
  • Subsequently, the distributor saw the potential
    of moving into the Primary Mathematics
    supplementary materials market with our
    publications and suggested to have one of our
    best-selling publications customised to suit the
    US market.
  • We re-packaged the initial series of four books
    into six books for each primary level and the
    terms used in the contents were chosen to ensure
    familiarity to the US students, e.g.
  • replacing the local Singaporean names such as
    Fatimah or Siti, to Jane or Mary
  • replacing tropical fruit names such as durians
    and rambutans to oranges and grapes

  • In June 2002, former Malaysian PM, Dr Mahatir
    Mohammed made a sudden announcement that
    Mathematics and Science would be taught in
    English from Jan 2003 onwards.
  • This meant that all Mathematics and Science
    textbooks need to be published by end Oct 2002
    and distributed to all schools by end Nov 2002
    before the 2003 school year begins.
  • Panpac Education was short listed to publish
    Mathematics Year 1 for Malaysia.
  • Malaysian MOE developed the syllabus, we took
    care of the writing to the publishing and
    distribution of the textbook packages in less
    than 5 months (by end Nov 2002) to all parts of
    Malaysia including remote areas of the country
    and Eastern Malaysia by helicopter drop-offs and
    speedboat deliveries.

  • In late 1990s, we partnered one of the textbook
    distributor in the region to enter into
    Caribbean, competing with international
    publishers by offering quality books at
    affordable price.
  • In mid-2004, our partner was successfully awarded
    the tender to publish a number of core curriculum
    subjects of the new syllabus.
  • Panpac Education became the publishing house to
    fulfil the publishing of those subject.
  • writers were engaged to write original contents
    in accordance with the syllabus
  • This was the first time that full textbook
    packages consisting of textbooks, workbooks,
    teachers guides, teachers editions and
    multimedia resources were introduced.

  • In the process, locally well known educators in
    Caribbean were enlisted as reviewers of the
    publication to make sure that the contents are in
    sync with local contexts and adhered to the
  • Illustrations that were familiar to Caribbean
    students, including skin colours of different
    local ethnic groups were depicted in the
  • It was through this process of exchanging
    information and experiences that our partner
    realised that printing and fulfilment in
    Singapore and/or China was cheaper than in

  • Panpac Education has been working with one of the
    largest private school education publisher and
    distributor in Pakistan for more than 25 years,
    introducing our textbook packages into the large
    private school market throughout the country.
  • In the last few years, we started adapting and
    customising our existing educational contents in
    English and Science for this market through
    understanding of the local culture and religion,
  • local educators were enlisted as reviewers of the
    publications to ensure adherence to local
    contexts and syllabus
  • we took out sensitive topics such as
    reproduction and replaced animals such as pigs
    and dogs that are considered inappropriate in
    Islamic religion and with other animals
  • textbook covers and many illustrations were
    re-drawn to reflect familiarity to students
  • Finally, we published and printed the entire
    textbook packages for our partner, making use of
    networks throughout the low-cost Asian region.
  • Our partner found our production costs to be much
    more competitive compared to having them done in

  • Panpac Education formed a strong working
    relationship with the state-owned publisher in
    Vietnam, who found our experiences in
    customisation and adaptation of our contents to
    local conditions very appealing.
  • We provided expertise in editorial and pre-press
    processes as well as provided consultation to the
    writing of their English Language textbooks.
  • When the textbooks were ready to be piloted all
    over the country, we provided the expertise in
    teachers training, helping them to develop
    teacher training materials for use in teacher
    training workshops throughout the country.
  • We believe that this partnership flourish because
    we are willing to impart knowledge to our

Indonesia Thailand
  • Singapore has close bilateral ties with Thailand
    and Indonesia hence it was only natural for
    Panpac Education to have long working
    relationships with local distributors in these
    two countries.
  • Many of the schools in Thailand and Indonesia
    look up to the Singapore education system centred
    on using English Language as the key language of
    instruction and would like to emulate it in their
    schools … the fastest way to improve their
    education system is to use Singapore-published
    textbooks in their teaching and learning … hence
    our English Language, Mathematics Science
    textbooks are widely distributed in these two
  • In Indonesia, many of the schools adopted the
    Chinese Language textbooks used in Singapore as
    part of their core curriculum since Indonesia has
    a significant Chinese population akin to
    retaining the learning of Chinese Language
    amongst their children and they could not find
    good Chinese Language materials suitable to their
    needs publications from China and Taiwan were
    not customised to local needs in terms of
    cultural affinity, style of presentation and
    level of difficulty … therefore Singapore Chinese
    Textbooks, published only by Panpac Education,
    was the preferred choice since we have gone
    through years of defining the Chinese curriculum
    suitable for learners of Chinese as a Second
  • We also worked with our partners to conduct
    teachers training workshops as part of our
    commitment to transfer teaching and learning
    skills into the two countries.

Moving Forward
Moving Forward
  • As we accumulate more international publishing
    experiences through partnerships with many
    government bodies, local publishers, and
    distributors, we were invited by many other
    partners from developing countries to help them
    develop their textbook industry, for example
  • Iraq under the auspices of UNESCO as part of
    their initiative to rebuild Iraqs education
  • Egypt, as they will be undergoing their new
    syllabus cycle and would like to join hands with
    experienced foreign education publishers to
    create new textbooks for their schools.

Moving Forward
  • Our partners like our flexible and modular
    partnership models, especially our ability to be
    a one-stop education services provider and our
    expertise in providing high quality education
    contents into the partnerships.
  • Panpac Education firmly believes that to make our
    partnerships meaningful and long-lasting, we not
    only need to provide high quality one-stop
    publishing, printing and fulfilment services, we
    must be committed to the transfer of knowledge.
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