Textbook availability and content

Textbooks are manuals of instruction which should ensure three principles, as highlighted by UNESCO (2014): their accessibility for all, their quality and relevance to the curriculum and their efficacity as a tool for peace and global citizenship.

Textbooks are an essential part of the teaching and learning materials. Governments should pay particular attention to their provision to ensure equal access to quality textbooks to all learners. Decision-makers must find a balance between textbooks affordability and quality. Moreover, to respect the generally agreed learner-centred pedagogy, textbook provision and content must be decided according to the wide and diverse learners’ needs. Overall, a sustainable, affordable, and accessible textbooks-related policy can have a positive impact on education quality, equity, and access.

In addition to textbooks, it is also relevant to pay attention to teacher guides. These documents are often edited together with textbooks to help teachers follow the curriculum, but also adapt to students’ pedagogical needs. The provision of sufficient textbooks and teacher guides ensure a coherent pedagogy, benefiting both pupils and teachers.

References
UNESCO. 2014e. Textbooks and learning resources: guidelines for developers and users. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002322/232222e.pdf

Promising policy options

Sustainable, secure and transparent system

To ensure a sustainable, secure, and transparent textbook provision system, multiple aspects should be kept in mind. First of all, a national book policy can be developed with adapted regulation, laws and institutional capacities to avoid bypasses and piracy. Audit of the budget spent on textbook’s provision should also be ensured, both at centralised and decentralised level. This will allow relevant stakeholders to track the money spent on textbooks and ensure the sustainability of the provision, while avoiding corruption issues. Both decentralised and centralised offices of the ministry, should officially declare the number of textbooks needed so that the budget can be traced, and the provision matches the exact quantity needed.

Another option is to equip schools or the community with accountability mechanisms, such as providing them official list of orders which they can verify. The community can also be involved in audit tasks. Assessment of the procurement process can also be done by professional officers, every four or five years through availability surveys. This will help measure progress, and ensure changes are implemented when needed. Smaller surveys can also be carried out more regularly to assess the exact level of teaching and learning materials (TLM) at the school/classroom level.

References
Adebayo, B.R. 2019. ‘Curriculum and Textbook Program Development Provision Comparison In China, Mexico, The Caribbean And Nigeria: The Way Forward’. In: Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). 2039. Retrieved from: https://essa-africa.org/node/501?i=d&id=3810

Marinelli, C.V.; Martelli, M.; Praphamontripong, P.; Zoccolotti, P.; Abadzi, H.. 2013. ‘First Part: Textbook format and visual effects on learning to read in young children’. In: Visual and linguistic factors in literacy acquisition: instructional implications for beginning readers in low – income countries, Washington D.C.: The World Bank; Global Partnership in Education. Retrieved from: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/16244

UNESCO. 2014e. Textbooks and learning resources: guidelines for developers and users. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002322/232222e.pdf

Coherent content

Textbooks should follow curricula for the schooling to be coherent and should be updated when there are changes. This also helps teachers to have material support for their lessons and give them the main keys to deliver them. Textbook content should be context-based. As illustrated by Adebayo (2019), this is a current practice in China where content is developed in a decentralised manner and aims to cater to the needs of all children, even those in the most rural areas.

Colours, illustrations, charts, maps, diagrams and text density are important to consider and should be set according to the grade. Their appropriateness can improve pupils’ concentration and understanding and encourage them to use textbooks.

References
Adebayo, B.R. 2019. ‘Curriculum and Textbook Program Development Provision Comparison In China, Mexico, The Caribbean And Nigeria: The Way Forward’. In: Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). 2039. Retrieved from: https://essa-africa.org/node/501?i=d&id=3810

Marinelli, C.V.; Martelli, M.; Praphamontripong, P.; Zoccolotti, P.; Abadzi, H.. 2013. ‘First Part: Textbook format and visual effects on learning to read in young children’. In: Visual and linguistic factors in literacy acquisition: instructional implications for beginning readers in low – income countries, Washington D.C.: The World Bank; Global Partnership in Education. Retrieved from: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/16244

UNESCO. 2014e. Textbooks and learning resources: guidelines for developers and users. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002322/232222e.pdf

Making inclusive content, human-right based, global citizenship approach

Gender sensitivity via textbooks’ text, illustrations, characters, and roles is fundamental to have inclusive content, along with a human-right based, global citizenship approach.

Textbooks should highlight different points of view or be written in different languages to avoid offering one strict vision of the society in countries where there are various ones (cultural, linguistic and religious diversity). Overall, textbook content should be free from prejudice.

Textbooks should also promote the environment. Textbooks’ authors should refer to some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and stress the importance for the young and next generations to take care of environment and sensitize them to these issues. Promoting actions related to SDGs 11(sustainable cities and communities), 12 (responsible consumption and production) and 13 (climate action) will for sure have an impact in children’s minds about the respect of the environment.

References
Adebayo, B.R. 2019. ‘Curriculum and Textbook Program Development Provision Comparison In China, Mexico, The Caribbean And Nigeria: The Way Forward’. In: Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). 2039. Retrieved from: https://essa-africa.org/node/501?i=d&id=3810

UNESCO. 2007. Gender bias in textbooks: a hidden obstacle on the road to gender equality in education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0015/001555/155509e.pdf

UNESCO. 2015d. Promoting gender equality through textbooks: a methodological guide. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0015/001588/158897E.pdf

UNESCO. 2016g. Textbooks pave the way to sustainable development; Global Education Monitoring Report: Policy paper 28. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002467/246777E.pdf

UNESCO. 2016h. UNESCO guidebook on textbook research and textbook revision. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0011/001171/117188E.pdf

UNESCO. 2017c. Making textbook content inclusive: a focus on religion, gender, and culture. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002473/247337e.pdf

Teachers’ role

Teachers can help in the redaction (or revision) of textbooks and should be trained to use these textbooks in the most effective way in class. The content of textbooks can either only give teachers basic information for them to construct a class lesson or can provide almost all the necessary information for the pupils.

Teacher guides, when produced together with textbooks, can give pedagogical keys to teachers, allowing them  to teach the curriculum in the best possible way. Decision-makers should not underestimate teacher guides importance and dedicate a certain part of the budget in their development and provision. Three main issues must be considered:

  • The quality of the guides: guides should be aligned with the curriculum. They should illustrate the main objectives and examples of activities to organize inside the classroom.
  • Their availability in the school: ensuring their availability to all teachers is of key importance. When this is not possible due to scarce resources, sharing manuals between teachers can be a favourable solution. This could even encourage them to communicate and share their teaching experience.
  • The possibility to have access to these resources online.

* For more on this subject, consult Policy page Teacher guides and lesson plans.

Other policy options

Making a cost-effective textbook policy

Two main policies exist to ensure a cost-effective textbook policy:

  • Consumer funding: the State provides funds to the schools or parents for them to buy textbooks, encourage decentralisation and diversified choice of textbooks according to the demand.
  • Producer funding: State funds the textbook suppliers, encourages centralised supply.
    In both cases the State can also provide free textbooks for all. This is the case for primary school student in countries like China and Mexico (Adebayo, 2019).

Multiple ways of textbook provision exist. The State can have a monopoly of only one textbook or provide a list of approved textbooks. The private sector can also have a monopoly or a list of approved textbooks. The questions raised, in any of those scenarios, are relative to the diversity of the textbooks offered. A list of approved textbooks can take into account the social diversity of the pupils and adapt to it, whereas the monopoly provides equal and similar education support to all pupils. The difference between State and private sector provision decision is that prices can be lower if the private sector brings competitiveness. However, it should be kept in mind that, in such a scenario, textbooks may differ from existing curricula.  

The textbook chain of production can also have multiple configurations. It can be organized as a public-private partnership; be set up through a State centralised decision; include competitive bidding by private actors; or the State can have a monopoly with printers, publishers, and distributors.

A final element that needs to be taken into consideration is the rationalization of textbook costs. This can be achieved through the reduction of the textbook’s size and the number of pages, by prioritising certain subjects and core content, by choosing the paper quality or by using four colours. Note that these decisions need to be considered while keeping in mind the quality and usefulness of the resulting textbooks.

References
Adebayo, B.R. 2019. ‘Curriculum and Textbook Program Development Provision Comparison In China, Mexico, The Caribbean And Nigeria: The Way Forward’. In: Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). 2039. Retrieved from: https://essa-africa.org/node/501?i=d&id=3810

DFID (Department for International Development). 2010. Learning and Teaching Materials: Policies and Practices for Provision. London: DFID. Retrieved from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/67621/lrng-tch-mats-pol-prac-prov.pdf

Fredriksen, B.; Brar, S.; Trucano, M. 2015. Getting Textbooks to Every Child in SubSaharan Africa; Strategies for Addressing the High Cost and Low Availability Problem. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/21876/9781464805400.pdf;sequence

The World Bank. 2015b. Where Have All the Textbooks Gone? Toward Sustainable Provision of Teaching and Learning Materials in Sub-Saharan Africa Teachers guide. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: https://allchildrenreading.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Where-Have-All-the-Textbooks-Gone.pdf

UNESCO. 2005a. A Comprehensive strategy for textbooks and learning materials. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001437/143736eb.pdf

UNESCO. 2016b. Every child should have a textbook. Policy Paper 123; Global Education Monitoring Report 2016. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002433/243321E.pdf

Textbook development

Textbooks have been found to be a cost-effective measure ‘to upgrade academic achievement and increase the effectiveness of a school system (Neumann and Cunningham, 1982)’ (Adebayo, 2019: 6). Textbook development can be done through a centralised or decentralised system.

Countries such as China, have opted for a decentralised system. The central government supports qualified institutions and personnel to develop high-quality textbooks, following established standards (Adebayo, 2019). A review process is conducted by the National Primary and Secondary School Textbook Review Commission for national-use textbooks. For local-use textbooks, the review process is pursued by the provincial textbook review commission. As explained by Adebayo (2019) this factor has allowed textbooks’ content to be adapted to the specific needs of the children they have been developed for.

Other countries, such as Mexico and countries in the Caribbean, have opted for a centralised textbook development system (Adebayo, 2019). Yet, even in centralised systems, research highlights the importance of involving teachers, parents, students, the community, and other stakeholders, in textbook development to ensure that they are fully adapted to children’s reality (Adebayo, 2019). For instance, efforts have been made in the Caribbean to develop textbooks based on the cultural and historical backgrounds of the populations they aim to serve (Adebayo, 2019).

References
Adebayo, B.R. 2019. ‘Curriculum and Textbook Program Development Provision Comparison In China, Mexico, The Caribbean And Nigeria: The Way Forward’. In: Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). 2039. Retrieved from: https://essa-africa.org/node/501?i=d&id=3810

Provision to improve fair distribution

Just as textbook development, the provision of textbooks can be either centralised or decentralised. In certain cases, bulk or local level purchase can help avoid corruption and waste of scarce resources, with bulk purchases helping decrease textbook prices.

Moreover, in case of scarce resources and when not all schools have access to textbooks, one possibility could be to reduce the ratio of textbooks per pupil. It could change from 1:1 to 1:2 or 1:3 in all other schools to ensure full coverage of textbooks in all schools. Then, progressively aim at having one textbook per pupil. Conversely, another strategy would be to reduce the number of textbooks required per pupil for given subjects.

Having good quality paper and covers will secure textbooks’ use for several years without having to be replaced, and thus implies a more efficient use of resources in the long run, even if it means a higher initial investment.

References
Adebayo, B.R. 2019. ‘Curriculum and Textbook Program Development Provision Comparison In China, Mexico, The Caribbean And Nigeria: The Way Forward’. In: Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). 2039. Retrieved from: https://essa-africa.org/node/501?i=d&id=3810

DFID (Department for International Development). 2010. Learning and Teaching Materials: Policies and Practices for Provision. London: DFID. Retrieved from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/67621/lrng-tch-mats-pol-prac-prov.pdf

Fredriksen, B.; Brar, S.; Trucano, M. 2015. Getting Textbooks to Every Child in SubSaharan Africa; Strategies for Addressing the High Cost and Low Availability Problem. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/21876/9781464805400.pdf;sequence

The World Bank. 2015b. Where Have All the Textbooks Gone? Toward Sustainable Provision of Teaching and Learning Materials in Sub-Saharan Africa Teachers guide. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: https://allchildrenreading.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Where-Have-All-the-Textbooks-Gone.pdf

UNESCO. 2005a. A Comprehensive strategy for textbooks and learning materials. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001437/143736eb.pdf

UNESCO. 2016b. Every child should have a textbook. Policy Paper 123; Global Education Monitoring Report 2016. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002433/243321E.pdf

E-material, e-textbooks, CD-ROM

Some countries are considering substituting totally paper textbooks to e-material. However, this can cost a lot without having the expected results. Governments should rather use e-material as a complement to existing teaching and learning materials.

For instance, the World Bank initiated diverse projects to include ICTs in education. One example is the program One Laptop per Child – OLPC- first implemented in Peru in 2012.  This program aimed at providing each child with a laptop. Around one million devices were distributed. Yet, even if results about the access to technologies are optimistic, education outcomes are more mitigated (based on reading and math results).

References
Trucano, M. 2013. Mobile learning and textbooks of the future, e-reading and edtech policies: Trends in technology use in education in developing countries. Excerpts from the World Bank’s EduTech blog (Volume IV). Washington, DC: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EDUCATION/Resources/EduTechBlog2012_all_the_posts.pdf

UNESCO. 2014e. Textbooks and learning resources: guidelines for developers and users. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002261/226135e.pdf

UNESCO. 2016h. UNESCO guidebook on textbook research and textbook revision. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0011/001171/117188E.pdf

Further questions

Storage and libraries in schools

In both, centralised and decentralised textbook provision systems, particular attention should be paid on warehouses’ quality and location. Textbooks must be stored in good conditions and their distribution should be eased through accessible and strategic locations (to learn more from Mexico’s challenges with the textbook distribution process, consult Adebayo, 2019). This question is essential to ensure an effective distribution, and thus, proper access to textbooks to students.

Adequate storage in school libraries also allows students to access books and textbooks freely in school. Good conservation should be ensured. Community members can be encouraged to takea part in textbook storage and conservation tasks.

References
Adebayo, B.R. 2019. ‘Curriculum and Textbook Program Development Provision Comparison In China, Mexico, The Caribbean And Nigeria: The Way Forward’. In: Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). 2039. Retrieved from: https://essa-africa.org/node/501?i=d&id=3810

Fredriksen, B.; Brar, S.; Trucano, M. 2015. Getting Textbooks to Every Child in SubSaharan Africa; Strategies for Addressing the High Cost and Low Availability Problem. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/21876/9781464805400.pdf;sequence

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). 2012. E-books: Developments and Policy Considerations. OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 208. Paris: OECD. Retrieved from: https://ideas.repec.org/cgibin/get_doc.pl?urn=RePEc%3Aoec%3Astiaab%3A208en&url=http%3A%2F%2Fdx.doi.org%2F10.1787%2F5k912zxg5svh-en

Policy options for improving Equity and Inclusion

Gender-responsive policies

Promising policy options

Making textbooks accessible to all students

Brugeilles and Cromer (2009) illustrate the link between girl’s underachievement and textbooks. One of the explanations given is the fact that girls’ access to textbooks is lower than that of boys. It is recommendable for Ministries of Education and schools to explore and develop management systems to track textbooks’ usage and ensure that all students benefit equally from textbooks available (Brugeilles and Cromer, 2009; Mlama et al., 2005).

References
Brugeilles, C.; Cromer, S. 2009. Promoting Gender Equality through Textbooks: A Methodological Guide. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from : https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf000015889 7_eng?posInSet=1&queryId=5714e81f-8bf9-4437-a6de-5576ed89e5ad

Mlama, P.; Dioum, M.; Makoye, H.; Murage, L.; Wagah, M.; Washika, R. 2005. Gender Responsive Pedagogy: A Teacher’s Handbook. Nairobi: Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE). Retrieved from: http://www.ungei.org/files/FAWE_GRP_ENGLISH_VERSION.pdf

Review existent textbooks and develop new gender-responsive textbooks

Ministries of Education should ensure that existent textbooks are reviewed periodically to tackle down gender-bias and stereotypes represented throughout the content and illustrations (Brugeilles and Cromer, 2009; UNESCO, 2015; UNESCO, 2016g; UNESCO, 2017; UNESCO, 2018). The three dimensions of gender-bias which should be removed from textbooks are: ‘(a) underrepresentation, (b) stereotyped depictions of gender roles, occupations, and attributes, and (c) [insufficient] presentation of positive gender content and role models’ (Blumberg, 2015: 20). Regarding new textbooks, it is recommended to develop them as gender-responsive from the onset (Blumberg, 2015).

The following short-, medium- and long-term policies and strategies should be taken into account when reviewing and developing gender-responsive textbooks.

First of all, political will and stakeholders’ support is of utmost importance to review existent textbooks and/or develop new gender-responsive ones (Blumberg, 2015; UNESCO, 2016g). For instance, in multiple countries, the aim to eliminate gender-bias from textbooks at a national level has been explicitly reflected through national education strategies.This has been done in countries such as Viet Nam, Ghana, Bangladesh, Guinea, Nepal and Pakistan (UNESCO and UNGEI, 2015). For instance, Viet Nam’s National Strategy on Gender Equality 2011-2020 calls for textbook’s review (UNESCO, 2016g; UNESCO, 2018). Stakeholders’ support is also essential throughout the review and development process (Brugeilles and Cromer, 2009). In fact, a lack of support from relevant stakeholders and the wider society overall will not only limit policy reforms, but will also ultimately inhibit the removal of gender-bias in teaching and learning materials (UNESCO and UNGEI, 2015).  

This is why it is essential to involve multiple stakeholders in the process, especially those who oppose to the development of gender-responsive textbooks (Blumberg, 2015). Name some leaders –also known as ‘champions’– to present the reforms to top government officials and other stakeholders (Blumberg, 2015).

Involve institutions responsible for textbook production, which can be either private or public. While this varies from country to country their participation is of utmost importance (e.g. even though Pakistan’s 2001-2015 EFA Action Plan aimed to eradicate gender-bias in textbooks, the resistance from the institutions responsible for textbook production contributed to the low political priority given to such review (UNESCO and UNGEI, 2015).).

Involve parents and the civil society in the process and get their support to monitor textbook’s content (e.g. in 2016 in South Africa after a parent raised the issue of a textbook’s content through social media a petition was formed ultimately leading the publisher to amend the content (Davies, 2016 cited by UNESCO, 2018).)

Teachers have a major role to play regarding textbook’s review. When textbook’s review process has not been done yet, teachers should be encouraged to adapt the content themselves inside the classroom to make it gender-responsive (Mlama et al., 2005; INEE, 2010). For instance, they can provide complementary examples, illustrations and interpretations. Teachers should also be encouraged and supported to develop their own gender-responsive teaching and learning materials. An essential step for this is ensuring that teachers are well-trained and are able to adapt the content inside the classroom to make it gender-responsive.

In the context of an education system that receives support of any kind from external or internal donor, it is essential to involve said donors in the process. 

Second, provide sufficient funds for the review of existent books and the development of new gender-responsive textbooks. This policy reform usually requires international donor’s involvement and support (e.g. ‘in Chile and Pakistan, UNESCO played an important role in funding early and influential research on gender bias in textbooks’ (Blumberg, 2015: 21).)

Third, ensure an adequate legislative and policy framework. Some recommendations to produce gender-responsive textbooks are:

  • Pay attention on how female, male and LGBTIQ communities are or will be represented throughout the textbooks (Brugeilles and Cromer, 2009; UNESCO, 2016g).
  • Develop textbook’s characters from a gender-perspective (for more information consult Brugeilles and Cromer, 2009; UNESCO, 2017.),
  • Pay attention to both the content and the illustrations as well as the links between both (Brugeilles and Cromer, 2009).

The Ministry of Education should issue and enforce guidelines, such as gender-explicit Terms of Reference (ToR), to ensure that the textbooks being developed are gender-responsive from the onset (Blumemberg, 2015). Ministries of Education must make sure that the institution in charge of developing the textbook –it can be a team of authors within the MoE or an external publisher– agree to those TORs before starting the production. Afterwards, a team of evaluators, including a gender specialist, should analyse whether or not the textbooks produced comply with those gender-explicit TORs and in case they don’t they would be sent back for revision (e.g. this has been done in Chile where external academic evaluators carry out an assessment of the textbooks’ compliance with the Terms of Reference (Blumberg, 2015).). For existing textbooks, gender-audits can be performed (e.g. UNESCO funded this initiative in Jordan and Pakistan (UNESCO and UNGEI, 2015).

(For a guideline to analyse textbook’s gender-responsiveness consult ‘Sheet#5 Textbook Analysis’ at UNESCO Bangkok, 2009).

Fourth, provide training opportunities to tackle down opposition to the reform. For instance, provide gender-responsive training for professionals responsible of developing the guidelines for textbook production and approving textbooks for use (UNESCO and UNGEI, 2015). Ministries of Education should provide gender-responsive training opportunities for their staff members, so that they can collaborate on the textbook’s reform initiative as well as other gender-related initiatives. In this case, the ‘training of trainers’ model can be implemented to reduce costs (Blumberg, 2015). It is essential to include male trainers in the process (Blumberg, 2015).  

Teacher’s training in the use of new gender-responsive textbooks is of utmost importance as well (Blumberg, 2015). Additionally, as expressed before, teachers can be taught practical skills to correct gender-bias found on non-reviewed textbooks within the classroom (e.g. through gender-responsive training teachers can be taught to be aware of gender stereotypes in textbooks and how to use them positively, for example by ‘prompting open questions about the content and encouraging critical thinking in terms of gender issues’ (INEE, 2010: 53).)

It is also essential to teach students to ‘recognize gender bias in textbooks so that they can transcend their current educational materials’ (Blumberg, 2015: 22).

References
Blumberg, R.L. 2015. Eliminating gender bias in textbooks:  Pushing for policy reforms that promote gender equity in education. Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2015: Education for All 2000-2015: achievements and challenges. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000232452?posInSet=3&queryId=5714e81f-8bf9-4437-a6de-5576ed89e5ad

Brugeilles, C.; Cromer, S. 2009. Promoting Gender Equality through Textbooks: A Methodological Guide. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from : https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf000015889 7_eng?posInSet=1&queryId=5714e81f-8bf9-4437-a6de-5576ed89e5ad

INEE (Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies). 2010. Gender Equality in and through Education: INEE Pocket Guide to Gender. Geneva: INEE. Retrieved from: https://toolkit.ineesite.org/resources/ineecms/uploads/1009/INEE_Pocket_Guide_to_Gender_EN.pdf

Mlama, P.; Dioum, M.; Makoye, H.; Murage, L.; Wagah, M.; Washika, R. 2005. Gender Responsive Pedagogy: A Teacher’s Handbook. Nairobi: Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE). Retrieved from: http://www.ungei.org/files/FAWE_GRP_ENGLISH_VERSION.pdf

UNESCO Bangkok. 2009. Gender in Education Network in Asia-Pacific (GENIA) Toolkit: Promoting Gender Equality in Education. Bangkok: UNESCO Bangkok. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000186495

UNESCO, UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). 2015. Gender and EFA 2000-2015, Achievements and Challenges: Gender Summary. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://www.ungei.org/234809E.pdf

UNESCO. 2015. A Guide for Gender Equality in Teacher Education Policy and Practices. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000231646/

UNESCO. 2016g. Textbooks pave the way to sustainable development. Global Education Monitoring Report: Policy paper 28. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002467/246777E.pdf

UNESCO. 2017. Making textbook content inclusive: A focus on religion, gender, and culture. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000247 337?posInSet=9&queryId=5714e81f-8bf9-4437-a6de-5576ed89e5ad

UNESCO. 2018. Global Education Monitoring Report Gender Review: Meeting our commitments to gender equality in education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000261593?posInSet=7&queryId=d9c1c9db-c2d7-4f64-a94f-f13dc872d3a4

Policies for children with disabilities

Promising policy options

Ensure textbooks appreciate diversity and eliminate discriminatory and negative portraits of peoples with disabilities

In an inclusive education system, Ministries of Education should ensure that the textbooks provided promote diversity. This implies representing peoples with disabilities in a positive, accurate and authentic way (UNESCO, 2016g) (see Annex 1). Existent textbooks should be reviewed to remove any harmful stereotype and to increase the representation of peoples with disabilities within them (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2019; DFID, 2010). As expressed by Hodkinson, Ghajarieh and Salami: ‘all learners must be able to “find themselves and their world represented in the books from which they learn”. Incorporating the issues of people with disabilities into the textbooks of mainstream schools…could be a step towards reducing the alienation of pupils with disabilities in regular schools’ (2016: 8).

Annex 1

Empowering image of disability in a primary school civics textbook (Mexico)

Source: Herrera et al., 2014, retrieved from UNESCO. 2016g. Textbooks pave the way to sustainable development. Global Education Monitoring Report Policy Paper 28. Paris: UNESCO

References
DFID (Department for International Development). 2010. Education for children with disabilities: improving access and quality. London: DFID. Retrieved from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/ system/uploads/attachment_data/file/67664/edu-chi-disabil-guid-note.pdf

Hodkinson, A.; Ghajarieh, A.; Salami, A. 2016. ‘An Analysis of the Cultural Representation of Disability in School Textbooks in Iran and England’. In: Education 3-13: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education. Retrieved from:  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301271604_An_analysis_of_the_cultural_representation_of_disability_in_school_textbooks_in_Iran_and_England

Ontario Human Rights Comission. 2019.  Accessible education for students with disabilities. Toronto: Ontario Human Rights Comission. Retrieved from: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/sites/default/files/Policy%20on%20accessible%20education%20for%20students%20with%20disabilities_FINAL_EN.pdf

UNESCO. 2016g. Textbooks pave the way to sustainable development. Global Education Monitoring Report: Policy paper 28. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002467/246777E.pdf

Ensure a timely provision of accessible textbooks

To meet the diversity of needs and learning patterns of all students, Ministries of Education should ensure from the outset the provision of accessible and flexible textbooks (CAST and LD OnLine, 2007; Stahl, 2004; UNESCO, 2019; WHO, 2011). Alternate-format teaching materials can be provided to students with disabilities in the following categories: braille, audio, large-print and e-text or digital text (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2019; Stahl, 2004; UNESCO, 2019; UNICEF, 2014).

Ministries of Education must ensure that all the approved books are available in those alternate forms. To do so, a number of strategies are recommended.

Enact an accessible textbook legislation. In many countries, legislations are enacted to specify the way in which accessible textbooks are created. This allows schools to establish procurement processes and ensure quality and timely distribution to all schools, so that students with disabilities receive their textbooks at the same time as their peers (Kenya, 2009; CAST and LD OnLine, 2007; Stahl, 2004). Additionally, it is recommended to enact a Copyright Law to allow mass production and availability of alternate format textbooks. For example, Section 121 of United States’ Copyright Act, allows certain entities to create alternate formats without seeking permission from the copyright holder (Stahl, 2004). In Kenya, the Ministry of Education seeks copyrights from publishers to produce the teaching and learning materials for students with special needs and disabilities (Kenya, 2009).

Allocate adequate funds for accessible teaching and learning materials. Ministries of Education and partners should ensure adequate resources to provide every book in an accessible format. For instance, Kenya’s National Special Needs Education Policy Framework, calls for an adequate allocation of funds for teaching and learning materials for children with disabilities (Kenya, 2009); in Mexico and Chile, the way in which their MoE finance inclusive education is by providing sufficient resources to the particular needs of institutions, such as financing the teaching materials (WHO, 2011). Additionally, the government should study the possibility of providing textbooks in alternative formats for free to children with disabilities (UNESCO, 2009d).)

Enhance the collaboration between pertinent stakeholders and a clear distribution system to provide accessible textbooks within schools. For example, in Ontario the school boards ensure that teaching and learning materials are available in e-text format (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2019).

Make sure to include parents, students, teachers in the process of deciding which alternate formats should be used and when (PACER Center, 2011) (for more details on alternate-formats depending on specific disabilities consult Stahl, 2004 and Stahl, 2010.). This responsibility could also be delegated to the Individualised Education Programme (IEP) team (e.g. this is the case in the United States (CAST and LD OnLine, 2007).). 

Moreover, technological advances should be considered as they allow alternate-format materials, thus, ‘providing those with disabilities new access to a world of information and ideas that traditionally has been restricted to printed text’ (Stahl, 2004: 24). There are multiple alternate-format materials which facilitate the learning process of students with disabilities, for example, texts read out-loud by synthetic or human voice, synchronization with word by word or sentence-by-sentence highlighting (for more precise details and specific recommendations of favourable methods for each type of disability consult Stahl, 2010).

References
CAST (Center for Applied Special Technology) and LD OnLine. 2007. Accessible Textbooks: A Guide for Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities. Accessed 5 June 2019: http://www.readingrockets.org/article/accessible-textbooks-guide-parents-children-learning-disabilities

Hodkinson, A.; Ghajarieh, A.; Salami, A. 2016. ‘An Analysis of the Cultural Representation of Disability in School Textbooks in Iran and England’. In: Education 3-13: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education. Retrieved from:  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301271604_An_analysis_of_the_cultural_representation_of_disability_in_school_textbooks_in_Iran_and_England

Kenya. 2009. Ministry of Education. The National Special Needs Education Policy Framework. Nairobi: Ministry of Education. Retrieved from: http://www.unesco.org/education/edurights/media/docs/446808882707702aafc616d3a2cec918bfc186fc.pdf

Ontario Human Rights Commission. 2019.  Accessible education for students with disabilities. Toronto: Ontario Human Rights Comission. Retrieved from: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/sites/default/files/Policy%20on%20accessible%20education%20for%20students%20with%20disabilities_FINAL_EN.pdf

PACER Center. 2011. Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM): Basics for Families. Minneapolis: PACER Center. Retrieved from: https://www.pacer.org/stc/pubs/STC-23.pdf

Stahl, S. 2004. The promise of accessible textbooks: Increased achievement for all students. Wakefield, MA: NCAC (National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum). Retrieved from: http://aem.cast.org/about/publications/2004/ncac-accessible-textbooks.html

Stahl, S. 2010. Accessible Textbooks in the K-12 Classroom II (2010 Revision): Selecting Specialized Formats. Wakefield, MA: NIMAS Development and Technical Assistance Centers. Retrieved from: http://aem.cast.org/about/publications/2004/ncac-accessible-textbooks.html

UNESCO. 2009d. Towards inclusive education for children with disabilities: A guideline. Bangkok: UNESCO. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0019/001924/192480e.pdf

UNESCO. 2019. The right to education for persons with disabilities. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000371249

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2014. Access to School and the Learning Environment I – Physical, Information and Communication: Webinar 10 – Companion Technical Booklet. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/eca/sites/unicef.org.eca/files/IE_ Webinar_Booklet_10.pdf

WHO (World Health Organization). 2011. ‘Chapter 7 Education’. In: World Report on Disability (pp. 227-256). Malta: WHO. Retrieved from: http://www.who.int/disabilities/world_report/2011/report.pdf.
 

Policies for displaced populations and host communities

Promising policy options

All policy options recommended in the general section of the present Policy page apply to this category.

Other policy options

Promote alternative modes of learning

Some alternative modes include open textbooks, mobile learning and computer-aided learning.

Open textbooks are a way to significantly reduce student textbook costs while giving instructors the flexibility to reformat and customise their course material. They are an affordable and flexible alternative to traditionally-published textbooks.

Mobile Learning is learning of any type designed to take place through a personal handheld electronic device, such as a smartphone/tablet/laptop. Such learning is mobile because it is not confined to the classroom or home but can take place anywhere. Since it is not school-based, it has no time constraints.

Another potential policy is computer-aided language learning. This is an example where existing resources can be of assistance to displaced learners, whether as a support for classroom instruction or for independent study. For example, Duolingo, the popular language-learning app with several million subscribers. It provided students language course material worth one semester in just 34 hours.

References
World Bank. 2016. ICT and the Education of Refugees: A Stocktaking of Innovative Approaches in the MENA Region Lessons of Experience and Guiding Principles. Retrieved from : http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/455391472116348902/pdf/107997-WP-P160311-PUBLIC-ICT-and-the-Education-of-Refugees-final.pdf

GPE (Global Partnership for Education). 2013. Books for All: Rwanda’s innovative textbook distribution program. Retrieved from : https://www.globalpartnership.org/blog/books-all-rwandas-innovative-textbook-distribution-program

Policies for minority populations

All policy options recommended in the general section of the present Policy page apply to this category.

For more information on the financial aspects of lack of textbooks, refer to Policy pages: Insufficient budget for school construction, High costs for school construction, Financial constraints in paying teachers and Distribution of Teaching and Learning Materials. For more information on inclusive content of textbooks, refer to Curriculum development Policy page.

Updated on 2021-09-10

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