On 22 February the IPA’s Educational Publishers Forum (EPF) held its 50th meeting. As has become tradition since EPF meetings moved online due to COVID, this meeting was marked as Virtual Kyiv falling as it did, just days before the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Stephan de Valk, chair of the EPF, marked the occasion of this half century of meetings that started back in London in January 2010: Thirteen years later we are well on the way to becoming a global EPF community, with Regional Hubs emerging in Latin America, ASEAN+, and perhaps Africa. We have learned the value of these “Virtual” gatherings in enabling colleagues from around the world to come together. We are clear on our Mission, our Values, and the persistent and evolving common challenges that we face together.
IPA President, Karine Pansa, congratulated the EPF on their success and underlined the prime position of educational publishing in many markets around the world.
Viktor Kruglov, the CEO fo Ukrainian educational publisher Ranok Publishing House, updated the EPF on the terrible impact of the war on education in Ukraine with 12.5 million people forced to leave their homes, and over 2000 schools being destroyed or severely damaged. He set this against the more familiar challenges of educational reform and curriculum changes which, combined with the war, had led to a shortage of appropriate textbooks. The digital platform created by the Ministry of Education tries to tackle this but electricity blackouts mean this isn’t a perfect solution. He shared ways Ukraine could be supported:
- Buying Ukrainian books for local libraries (e.g., in Germany, Poland and other countries) for Ukrainian refugees. UPBA can arrange the delivery of books to European countries.
- Providing books to help Ukrainian libraries rebuild their collections. Many libraries in Ukraine have been destroyed or damaged and are now in need of new books.
- Support of the European Commission for further development of digital textbooks.
The meeting then looked at the situation around the world moving from Latin America to ASEAN and Africa before hearing country reports on specific markets and regions.
The next EPF meeting will be held in London on 21 April.