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India to make CBSE textbooks available online for free (economictimes.com)
194 points by 3dfan on Dec 20, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 19 comments

Hilarious since all CBSE books have been easily available on the NCERT website since several years as PDFs.

The new government seems to be taking credit for making an app to download these PDFs.

I wish they would remove the huge diagonal watermark across every page as well. It makes the text quite hard to read.

Making books and other materials available online is a first step but am concerned about the quality of the content. Many times the books were not clear about the point they are trying to make, the experiment how its performed, etc. They often added some content, especially towards the end of the chapter, which was just a paragraph or so and did not explain what it is. Other thing is that students don't get to know about the practical applications. Consider calculus or binomial theorem, most of the students as well as teachers don't know about its applications. Unfortunately, if your teacher isn't that good, you would not understand and appreciate the subject. Given that internet is still not widely available, the students cannot search for additional material or get their questions answered.

Step 2: Improve the books.

Step 3: Better learning and quality students

Step 4: ?

Step 5: Profit.

Trite, I know, but I feel this follows a similar argument to the one given for electric cars:

Right now, individual ecars don't help the environment because we still have inefficient sources of electricity. But, if everyone has an ecar, we would see huge increases in efficiency when we upgrade our power stations to green energy. 1 wind power station could affect 1000s of car drivers.

So if everyone has access to these books, an upgrade of the book could have a positive effect for millions of students..

Then: profit!!!

Textbooks + Video Annotations (ala Khan Academy) really do the job of individual custom learning of a curriculum. So, your step 4, multimedia annotations. Profit may not the appropriate word, it would be rightly Profit/Benefit.

This isn't new. NCERT books have been online for several years.

article outlines that previously NCERT has been available, now they are extending it to CBSE books.

CBSE books are NCERT books. In fact, last year CBSE forced schools to only use NCERT texts. So I don't know what they mean by that.

Also, the article mentions that NCERT books were available for month and a half. Which is false. NCERT books have been available for free for years, they just also made them available on a few e-book formats a month or so ago, in addition to already available PDF. Cheap headline grab.

All CBSE books that they can publish that are not NCERT is an almost empty set.

irony here is that parent user's id is the name of the publishing house which is one of the chief competitors to cbse, especially when it comes to high school books.

My understanding is that CBSE decides the syllabus ( that is, which topics students should learn and at which grades ). NCERT makes the books that contain the course material. CBSE does not make any course material, or am I wrong ? Or does the CBSE recommend non NCERT books for some courses ?

While this is good news, CBSE is just one of the many (although the largest and possibly the best) school systems in India. This particular one is controlled by the central government and they are releasing books being used by this particular school system.

Am from India and was a passout of the CBSE curriculum school eons ago. And did not know that NCERT had these books in PDF since many years!

Thank you for the information.

As others point out, the NCERT textbooks have been available online for a while, if slightly more difficult to download. But why stop there?

I wish they would put the source online as well, with instructions on how to build it (preferably using Free/Open Source software). Now that would be a bold and groundbreaking move.

Ah you mean this which is already online yo http://www.ncert.nic.in/ncerts/textbook/textbook.html

What is the format, I wonder?

HTML can do animations, lots of graphics, etc., but sometimes struggles with math. PDF (from LaTeX) does a great job at math but making it do executable things is tough.

My book uses Jupyter Notebook, which uses MathJax for LaTeX generation, and of course Python or any of the other 30 or so kernels available for software. I haven't done JS with it for animation because I also want to support print, but it is trivially possible.

We still have a ways to go before online computer/math texts are seemless, but we are on our way.

Can I ask you what book? I have a professional interest in these things.

As an alternative to paper textbooks, animations are tough there as well (other than student-drawn flipbook animations in the margin).

This is good. But I wish India would release all the content it generates as public domain, like the US. It was paid for by the people. It should belong to and be made available to the people.

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