In many ways 2018 was a different year. The entire Indian education system has been going through changes at a frantic pace. It began with a more vocal and visible change in K-12 publishing with the government taking a stand on how this sector is to function. It began with the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks being brought to the front burner, followed by specifications on how schools must sell textbooks, uniforms and the like. The latest salvo is defining the weight of a school bag! The judiciary too has stepped in and the Madras High Court in a landmark judgment has made NCERT textbooks mandatory for K-12 students studying the CBSE curricula.
Higher Education has seen the revamp of its traditional bodies, the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council of Technical Education. Both these have had their powers redefined and the Ministry of Human Resource Development has taken a more active role in defining and disbursing financial aid. These are volatile times where uncertainty is the norm. While the K-12 judgment doesn’t impact SAGE India, the restructuring of Higher Education is definitely of concern in the short term. This affects the sale of books, journals and digital products in our markets. Until the uncertainty fades away, we will need to hold the fort.
This means examining what we do, how we do it and evaluate if there are other things we should be doing. A change that has finally made its presence felt in India is the shift to digital consumption of content from print. We first saw this in journals around 15 years ago. While eBooks were slower off the blocks, they are now firmly entrenched in HE. This means we need to revisit our offerings. As our product mixes change, each of us will need to respond to the changed environment appropriately.