Study guide publishers to sue Ed Minister

A dispute between the Education Ministry and private study guide publishers has escalated after a number of publishers and authors sent a letter to Education Minister Ahmed Zaki Badr and the Head of the General Department for Book Affairs to protest a ministerial decision which they claim harms their business.

Hossam Lotfy, the lawyer representing these publishers, said he will file a lawsuit on Monday against the two officials.

Publishers and authors said the new regulations imposed by the Education Ministry obligate authors of study guides to pay a sum– ranging between LE400,000 to LE1.25 million–for using material included in the Ministry’s school textbooks.

In their official letter, the publishers said that material included in textbooks should be made available to everyone with a view to enriching research. They added that their manuals are original publications, the content of which is not derived from the ministry’s textbooks.

They further affirmed that they have been paying the fees required to get print permissions.

A well-known publisher, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the minister has instructed all publishers requesting print authorizations to submit their study guides within a one-month period for review by the ministry. The publisher said the minister’s decision has put work at print houses on hold.

The publisher added that the Education Minister has raised the fees for this filtering process from LE600 to LE2000 per publication, which means that a publisher who prints 120 books will be required to pay LE250,000.

He added that publishers will not be able to pay such huge amounts of money, warning that the new regulations will lead to the spread of illegally published books, which will eventually harm the education process itself.

The publisher said these new procedures have already caused heavy losses for publishers, and will likely have painful repercussions for the national economy, especially since this industry recruits thousands of workers. More than 50,000 bookstores will be negatively affected by these new decisions, he added.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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