Monday, September 14, 2009

Education & Readership towards 2010 & beyond

“Our greatest asset is our people…We must invest in our people.”

This is one of the principles of the Citizens Reform Agenda 2010, which was publicly launched last September 2 by over a hundred citizens organizations. Many of our people suffer from hunger, homelessness and unemployment. To enable them to lift themselves out of poverty requires greater investment in quality education and health services.

The National Book Development Board firmly believes that the promotion of lifelong learning through readership leads to both national poverty reduction and book industry development in the medium to long terms. Thus, the agency completed the National Book Development Plan 2005-2010, and pursued its priority strategies of developing and supporting local authorship, enhancing the competitiveness of the industry, and raising textbook quality.

To develop authorship and the creative sector, the NBDB initiated and guided the enactment into law of the 2009 National Book Development Trust Fund (R.A. 9521) to support Philippine authorship in science and technology and other learning areas through annual grants that shall be distributed equitably throughout the regions.

The NBDB helped organize the Filipinas Copyright Licensing Society (FILCOLS), which has been accepted as a member of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations. The agency will support FILCOLS in its pursuit of fair remuneration and adequate protection for authors and publishers whose copyrighted works are reproduced and used mostly by educational institutions and their teachers and students.

Among its accomplishments to enhance industry competitiveness are the 2003 and 2007 NBDB Readership Surveys, which were conducted nationwide and which provided pioneering data to publishers, authors, and educators on the reading habits and preferences of Filipino adults and children. In 2008, the agency organized the Philippine Association of Scholarly and Academic Publishers (PASAP) to address the needs of university-based publishers and authors.

To enhance textbook quality in the private school system, the NBDB has offered its Textbook Review Service since 2006, and launched in 2008 the annual Quality Seal Awards initially for Mathematics and English basic education books.

These accomplishments and more have been made possible by the professionalization of the NBDB as an agency and its insulation from vested interests.

May the new President in 2010 appoint members of the Governing Board who will be as competent, active and responsible as the current members. In and beyond 2010, may the NBDB continue to provide the vision and leadership in book development and readership promotion through policy and industry research, market development interventions, and capability-building programs in support of lifelong learning among our citizenry and for the growth of Philippine book publishing into a globally competitive industry.

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