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Israel: Digitization of School Books

(Sept. 20, 2011) In September 2011, Israel's Ministry of Education issued a public announcement on digital textbooks. The announcement indicated that the Ministry was implementing a national program titled “Adjusting the Education System to the 21st Century.” Within the framework of this program, the Ministry announced the beginning of a process designed to replace all printed school books with digital books within five years. According to the announcement, the Ministry will provide subsidies for the replacement of school books in print with digital versions. In addition, the Ministry will not approve any books that do not contain an additional digital format, starting in the 2012-2013 school year.

The Ministry's plan supersedes a private member's bill submitted to the Knesset (Israel's parliament) in March 2011, titled the Digital School Books Bill, 5771-2011. The bill's explanatory notes state that it was designed to provide for an interim period to phase out printed books and for their replacement with digital publications. (Public Announcement Regarding Digital Books, Israel's Ministry of Education website; Ministry of Education: We Will Replace the Printed Books with Digital Ones Within Five Years, THE MARKER; Digital School Books Bill, 5771-2011, the Knesset website (all last visited Sept. 19, 2011, & all in Hebrew).)