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PEPA organized a publisher’s forum entitled THE KNOWLEDGE AND EDUCATION SECTOR: Where We are and Where We are Headed last December 2 at the Quezon City Sports Club. The aim of the forum   was to  review  the new government's Philippine Development Agenda which recognizes education and skills development of the people as a major driver of economic growth and to locate the publishing industry in these context.

 The well-attended forum had Dr. Rosario Manasan of the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) as keynote speaker.  Dr Manasan shared her report on the state of Philippine Education which she also presented at the Education Summit of the Department of Education.  Her extensive report was based on several research studies commissioned by the Asian Development Bank such as  “K to 12 Reform: Implications of Adding Grades 11 and 12 on Higher Education Sector” (2015), “Review and Assessment of Programs Offered by State Universities and Colleges in the Philippines” (2014), “Rationalizing National Government Subsidies for State Universities and Collages” (2012), and “Mobilizing LGU Support for Basic Education: Focus on the Special Education Fund” (2011).

Following Dr Manasan’s presentation were talks  by Andrew Fong of the Singapore Book Council and Anjana Saproo of PageWerkz Inc.

Mr Fong shared with the participants the current issues on copyright law  that Singaporean publishers have raised with their legislators.  The main issues are :  ownership of commissioned works, duration of such ownership and proof of ownership of creative works. Being an executive of Pearson Publishing, he also shared some practices on rights selling that are being done in the Asia Pacific region.  These practices can be adopted by Philippine publishers who are looking for content sharing opportunities in the ASEAN region. He emphasized that in order to do rights selling, the following elements are needed :  sufficient research on the needs of the market to be penetrated, a competitive rights package, and access to  publishers in other markets.  Government assistance in seeking the right partners is also a major plus.

Ms Saproo, who belongs to a technology support company for educational publishers called PAGEWERKZ, presented a digital platform which converts textbooks into interactive instructional materials for schools at no cost to the publisher.   The service is offered to all educational publishers.  Distribution of the materials can be  done through the global network of PageWerkz and through the publishers own marketing efforts.  Income from the use of these materials is shared by PageWerkz and the publisher. 

  PEPA Vice President Jerry Catabijan closed the seminar with a call to publishers to be vigilant and take action against unscrupulous parties who have been violating copyright ownership by using content from published textbooks in  various websites for teachers.  He  echoed the sentiment of publishers from neighboring countries whose Education ministries encourage the use of  textbook content without permission from the author.  Finally, he  left the participants with questions on the future of publishing “ Shall we become mere crafters of manuscripts or printers to DepEd’s book requirements? Or shall we enhance our competitiveness and prove to our economy that we can go beyond TX publishing and make a significant impact to our GDP?”

The forum was followed by the PEPA general meeting and Christmas party attended by PEPA members. Game and raffle prizes and gift bags were generously donated by PEPA Board members Diwa Learning Inc.  Phoenix Publishing House, Rex Publishing, Abiva Publishing, Brilliant Creations and SIBS Publishing House.