Indian education primers get in sync with digital ageApril 28th, 2011 - 1:42 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) Supplementary online content, greater emphasis on analysis and India-centric examples… education primers have changed beyond recognition in the country.
Guidebooks for competitive examinations and higher education are now more tech-oriented, India-specific, analytical and precise.
There was a time, a little more than a decade ago, when education primers were slim unimaginative volumes of stock questions and answers with a few activity-oriented papers to solve at the end of the book. Education books, on the other hand, were humungous information overloads, without precision information or pithy analyses to help students develop an aptitude and razor-sharp reasoning prowess.
But time is at a premium and attention spans shorter. Hence the change in the format of content, say industry insiders.
“The content of college and university education texts have changed. We don’t have to sift through pages to look for what we need. The formats of our books are more lucid, concise and yet analytical. The abundance of web supports that come with books allows us to go beyond the run-of-the mill for reference and seek views on experts available online,” Rajesh Kumar Mishra, a second year Delhi University student, told IANS.
Education books are adapting to online aids with digitisation making inroads, said Showick Thorpe, author of the CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) Manual 2011.
“Education books are now being written to give 360 degrees of information not only for written examination but also interviews and to increase knowledge thereafter,” Thorpe told IANS.
Thorpe, who owns the quality knowledge content brand Thorpes and V&S; Thorpes Education, added: “The erstwhile manuals were mere compilations of questions that could be asked in examinations.”
“Students now look for more information and want to read more with different views by different teachers. We provide a little beyond what the student requires.”
Several generic higher education books written by foreign authors are also being adapted keeping the Indian audience in mind, said Anish Srikrishna, chief marketing officer of Pearson Education Limited, one of the largest publishers of education books globally.
Srikrishna cited the example of the 13th edition of Philip Kotler’s famous book “Marketing Management”, which Kotler co-wrote with Kevin Keller, Abraham Koshy and Mithileshwar Jha as “Marketing Management: A South Asian Perspective”.
The highlight of the South Asian edition was a section on rural marketing memos in each chapter that provide tips and suggestions at all stages of marketing to rural customers.
“Kotler actively participated in adapting the original to the Indian subcontinent reality. Professors in IIM-A (Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad) who co-wrote the book created several India-specific instances pertaining to Indian retail market and Indian retail challenges,” Srikrishna said.
According to veteran education manual writer A.P. Bharadwaj, “students now look for precise information”.
“Books should be precise to help students score and at the same time ensure quality. The market is flooded with substandard books and material. None of these books last for more than a few years - and it takes three for a quality work to be established in the market,” Bharadwaj told IANS.
K.N. Panikker, author of the books “Emerging Trends in Higher Education” and “Social Justice in Higher Education”, added that student requirements had changed with time, particularly after the entry of IT.
“Students depend on information technology for the specific information that they want. They look for more analytical information in a book. The types of the books have also changed depending on the level of education,” Panikker said.
Macmillan, a leading publisher of education books, makes use of multi-media technology by providing web support with its books.
“Web support with printed texts reduces cost of the books - both production and sales costs - and at the same time allows students to access all the information,” said S.K. Singh, chief publisher of the higher education division of Macmillan.
The web support includes video clips, animation and interactive websites.
“The interesting thing about e-books is that even in small towns, students are equipped with funky cell phones with large screens and notepads which serve as e-readers,” he said.
As Priyanka Awasthi, a second year management student at Symbiosis in Pune, said: “We don’t use printed text books. All our books and reading material are available online. Our institute provides us reading material online and I buy all my reference books on the Internet… Higher education books have changed completely with digitisation and online aids.”
(Madhushree Chatterjee can be contacted at email@example.com)
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