E-Textbook Market Development Scheme

     The Steering Committee (Steering Committee) on Selection, Quality Assurance and Review of E-Textbook Market Development Scheme (EMADS) has approved a total of 30 applications for the development of e-textbooks.

     The 30 successful applications cover the main subjects of Chinese Language (7 applications), English Language (5 applications) and Mathematics (6 applications), and other subjects including General Studies (4 applications), Computer Literacy (2 applications), Putonghua (2 applications), Geography (1 application), Life and Society (1 application) and Physical Education (2 applications). Twenty-one applications cover primary education and nine cover junior secondary.

     The successful applications came from 13 applicants. Of these, 12 were submitted by five non-profit making (NPM) organisations, while the other 18 applications were submitted by eight other organisations. Among the 13 applicants, at least three are textbook publishing-related organisations, two are e-learning resources developers and two are tertiary institutions.

     In addition to fulfilling the quality criteria of printed textbooks, the successful applications are expected to harness the benefits of e-features to enhance the effectiveness of learning and teaching of the subject. Compared with the prices of their printed counterparts on the same subject, these e-textbooks to be developed under EMADS are generally priced lower. In the case of Geography, the price of the approved e-textbook is lower than the average price of its printed counterpart by as much as 63 per cent. Apart from countering the continued rise in printed textbook prices, the release of EMADS textbooks will also increase consumers' choice.

     For NPM developers, the Government will provide a seeding grant on a 50:50 matching basis, subject to a cap of $4 million per e-textbook set or 50 per cent of the development cost of the e-textbook set, whichever is less. The approved grant may be less than the amount requested if the Steering Committee considers that any of the projected expenses do not fall within the scope of funding or should be of a lesser amount.

     Both the NPM applicants and other applicants will enter into an agreement with the Government, which requires them to commit to the sales price of the e-textbooks produced under EMADS for four years and two years respectively.

     To field-test the e-textbooks developed under the EMADS in schools, the Education Bureau (EDB) has also launched a Partner Schools Scheme (PSS) to invite aspiring schools to try-out the e-textbooks and provide feedback, so that the developers can enhance the design and contents of the e-textbooks. Based on their school type, readiness in information technology as well as in curriculum development, a total of 88 applicant schools from the primary and secondary school sectors have been selected to match with the 30 successful EMADS applications. These schools will soon be notified of their participation in the PSS.

     To facilitate the development of the e-textbook and e-learning resources market, Hong Kong Education City has launched the EdConnect Directory Service which allows schools, teachers and students to use a single sign-on to access e-textbooks and e-learning resources from different service providers. This will provide a single platform for the developers to manage their resources more effectively for the development of e-textbooks and enhance communication among the concerned parties.

     Having undergone the field tests and the quality assurance mechanism under EMADS, the completed e-textbooks developed by successful applicants will be automatically recognised for inclusion in the Recommended Textbook List for e-textbooks in 2014/15. It is expected that e-textbooks developed under EMADS will be available for use in the 2014/15 school year.

     The EDB will conduct an interim review of EMADS. Based on the outcome of the review, the Steering Committee will determine whether or not a second phase for EMADS is desirable and if so, when to implement it.

     The Steering Committee, chaired by the Deputy Secretary for Education (Curriculum and Quality Assurance), includes experienced school principals, teachers, representatives from the business and information technology sectors, parents as well as representatives of the Consumer Council, Hong Kong Education City Limited and the Education Bureau.

Ends/Thursday, November 29, 2012
Issued at HKT 15:42