Indian publishers win $5.9 mn Ethiopian contracts to print textbooksJanuary 4th, 2012
Two Indian publishers have beaten off stiff international competition to win Ethiopian government contracts worth $5.9 million to print and distribute textbooks on six subjects, as also teachers' guides, a trend that has been consistent over the past three years.
Repro Printers and Pitambra Books were among 19 international printing companies that responded to an education ministry tender four months ago to print textbooks in six disciplines -- mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, civics, and ethics.
All bidders passed the technical evaluation stage, which included assessing the capacity of the printers and their ability to supply the books with the specified cover page and weight of the paper. Eventually, only the two companies from India were selected for the order for five million textbooks.
Established in 1984, the Mumbai-based Repro Printers recorded revenues of $47.1 million last year. Pitambra Books, established in 2001, is based in Jhansi town in Uttar Pradesh and earned $18 million last year.
The lucrative business of printing school textbooks began in 2009 after the Ethiopian government decided to outsource this to foreign printers due to what education authorities claimed was a lack of capacity among domestic printers.
After securing a grant that could reach as high as $1 billion, the first phase of printing 700,000 copies of four textbooks at a cost of $322.8 million was awarded to Britain's Pearson Education Ltd and India's Star Educational Books.
The project is part of the ministry's General Education Quality Improvement Package (GEQIP) that is supported by a $417 million grant from the World Bank as well as from Britain, Italy and Finland.
The five million textbooks, the majority of them relating to mathematics and civics, that will be printed by the two Indian companies are expected to arrive in June, ministry officials say. The companies are also expected to deliver the textbooks to 31 locations across the Ethiopia.
The textbooks have been developed based on the new curriculum of the education ministry. Some $150 million dollars has been spent on curriculum development, the money being provided by the Ethiopian government and the World Bank. --DailyNews