Published: 17th November 2021
Azim Premji University launches archive of school books; whopping 5K+ collection of material
The archive covers books in all languages and all school subjects that have been written and/or published in the Indian subcontinent
The Azim Premji University (APU) on Monday, November 15, launched its Schoolbooks Archive — a physical and digital collection of 5,724 items, school books and related documents dating as far back as 1819 from various regions of South Asia.
"A lot of focus has been given to the fact that it's an online, open access, curated, digital archive," said Reshmi Mitra from the Knowledge Resource Centre, APU, adding, "It is a bit of both physical and digital archive."
The portal allows one to browse the archive on the basis of various filters such as language, educational level, country, state and date of publication, among others. It can be accessed at schoolbooksarchive.azimpremjiuniversity.edu.in/.
The archive covers books in all languages and all school subjects that have been written and/or published in the Indian subcontinent — India and neighbouring South Asian countries — is our focus, said Mitra, adding that it does not mean that they are blind to the need to also include school books that are used in countries with a heavy emphasis on public education.
The physical resources can be searched through an open-access public catalogue. These resources are held in the APU Library and also in 200 libraries in teaching-learning centres across seven states in India — both at the district and block level. It is also to ensure that resources penetrate as well as are gathered from these regions, including small towns, she added.
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Partner organisations with APU, for instance, Ekalavya in Madhya Pradesh, continue to have physical copies in their libraries, while the digitised version is available on APU's portal. She said the need for school books is because they are an important source of social and educational history.
Talking about the archive, Anurag Behar, CEO, Azim Premji Foundation and Vice-Chancellor, APU, said, "Whether it is History or Sciences, what's happening with textbooks around the country and in different states is that they need a certain anchor in the historical trajectory of how schoolbooks have progressed, and this archive will serve that purpose well."