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Digital Open Textbooks for Development

The University of Cape Town (UCT), like many other African universities, is grappling with how to respond to the need for more locally relevant curricula. Some of the curriculum is dated and lacking in modern pedagogical practices. Added to the imperative of curriculum transformation, the cost of textbooks is increasingly prohibitive. The average cost of a textbook in South Africa is 12% of the average annual salary. The #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall political movements encapsulate this complex set of interrelated challenges, calling for both cultural recognition and socio-economic redistribution.

Open textbook production is a crucial area of investigation in terms of pursuing a better approach to the provision of teaching and learning materials and the high cost of education that limits access in developing country contexts. The Digital Open Textbooks for Development (DOT4D) project investigates the current ecosystem of open textbook publishing at the University of Cape Town, as a case study, and provides implementation support in open textbook publishing. It also aims to support policy-makers and other stakeholders in the development of institutional and national policy frameworks that govern open textbook publishing and address long-term sustainability. Located in the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching at UCT, the project aims to contribute a developing-country perspective on the global debate around open textbook publishing.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
30 months
IDRC Officer
Matthew Smith
Total Funding
CA$ 490,800.00
South Africa
Education and Science
Education and Science
Networked Economies
Institution Country
South Africa
Project Leader
Glenda Cox
University of Cape Town