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Education Publishing House will not raise textbook prices

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The Education Publishing House has finally stated that it will not raise textbook prices for the 2019-2020 academic year.

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At first, the Education Publishing House announced that the textbook price would increase by 30 percent but then changed its mind. Analysts believe that the final decision was made following intervention by the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) which sent an urgent dispatch to the publishing house.

“The production costs of textbooks are calculated based on the material prices, royalty to authors, editing costs, printing and distribution costs. All the factors have been stable with no big price fluctuations. Why does the Education Publishing House intend to raise the price?” Tran Xuan Nhi, deputy chair of the Vietnam Association of Universities and Junior Colleges, said.

“Since the Education Publishing House enjoys a monopoly in publishing textbooks, it must give explanations on raising prices,” Nhi said, adding that MOET, as the management body, needs to control textbook prices.

The Education Publishing House has complained about losses from textbook publication for many years. It has had to pay more for its workforce, printing house and transportation, but has not received financial support from the state.

In a press release, the publishing house said it has had to maintain the same retail prices of textbooks since 2011, while the input costs have increased many times.

Parents have been warned that the publishing house will try to raise textbook prices, sooner or later.

Pham Pho, former head of the Sai Gon Polytechnic College, said: “Instead of raising textbook prices, the publishing house should seek financial support and donors so as to reduce the production cost and ease the burden on students and their parents, especially families in rural areas,” he said.

The Education Publishing House is in charge of publishing 158 textbooks for general education, from first to 12th grade.

Vietnam spends VND1 trillion, or $45,000 to print textbooks for general education each year. Vietnamese students don’t have the habit of re-using old textbooks. They buy textbooks every year. High school students have to pay about VND150,000 for 14 textbooks.

The 2017 report of the Education Publishing House to MOET showed that it published 107.8 million copies in 2017. The figures were 108.8 million in 2016 and 101 million in 2015.

Experts have called on to end the monopoly in textbook publishing. Chu Van Hoa, head of the Director of the Publication, Print and Release Department, said that only when the monopoly is removed will Vietnam have high-quality textbooks.



Source: VietNamNet

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