One of the fundamental requirements of all educational systems is the
adequate provision of relevant and appropriate reading and other
instructional and learning materials for use by teachers and their
pupils. Such provision entails the authorship and publication of the
materials. But also essential to the process is their distribution into
the hands of the users, either directly or indirectly, via storage,
organization, control and dissemination by an information centre.
Whereas course textbooks can be distributed through retail outlets and
individual purchase, reference and general reading materials require
some form of organization for shared use. Books are too expensive for
any but those which are compulsory reading to be purchased. It is not
feasible to expect an individual to buy a book for reference or for
It is the aim of this study to examine some of the modalities through
which the school population in Africa gain access to supplementary
reading materials and to reach some conclusions on which are the most
After an initial planning workshop held in London in September 1997,
local researchers returned to Africa to undertake case studies of
different access modalities. An additional case study was undertaken in
UK from the published literature. The completed case studies have been
edited and are contained in this report, together with an introduction
and some conclusions. One case study, that of community resource centres
(village reading rooms in Botswana) has not been submitted. The case
studies from Mali and Mozambique have been translated into English.
Educational Paper No. 26, DFID, London, UK, ISBN 1 86192 051 2, 134 pp.
Getting books to school pupils in Africa. Case studies from Ghana and Tanzania.