eReader to save time and cost
By John Everatt | Fri, August 03, 2012 - 12:00 AM()
It was with interest I read the article Textbook Loan Scheme Woes in last Wednesday’s MIDWEEK NATION.
The issue, as Catherine Mitchell of Parkinson Memorial School, Junior Boxill of the Lester Vaughan School, Cheryl Trotman of Deighton Griffith School and Margaret Aimey of Queen’s College explain, is that the loaner books used to “last approximately eight to ten years, but they now had to squeeze three to four years” out of them, as they are returned in poor condition by the students.
This type of deterioration came to light a number of years ago when the Barbados Public Library had to dispose of many books because of fungus degradation. I can bet this kind of loss is significant.
But it is also easily avoidable: eReaders are the answer.
The current retail cost of eReaders is about US$100, at the most US$200. And that price could be reduceed through bulk purchasing. This is less than the cost of some text books.
If private industry, along with the Government, could subsidize a portion of this cost, then eReaders could be purchased in bulk and sold to the students at a fraction of the cost of corresponding textbooks.
Instead of carting around a sack of textbooks to classes, the student could lighten his load and carry just one eReader (which he owns and is more likely to take better care of than a loaner textbook).
The eReader screen too, unlike iPads, can be read anywhere – in pitch dark or bright sunlight. eReaders also have annotation capabilities so that the student can make notes all over the pages if he likes.
The programme could be phased in over several years. With the prices of electronic devices dropping every year, the resulting cost savings would be enormous. The budget would not need to be increased as some of the money earmarked for hard copy books could be diverted to eReader distribution.
Will some one, please do the maths.
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