2 thoughts on “"Free" knowledge

  1. Hm. Interesting question. And fyi, 250K is hardly an amazingly low amount. Don’t forget that that’s per school – a school would have to have 500+ students if the per-student total is €500,-. Far from all have that many. Of course, if you cluster your schools to get bulk advantages, it’ll probably happen quite soon… And if the government will institute central tenders for all schools, it’ll reach far into the tens of millions. But the european tender law wasn’t engineered to cover such projects, it was designed to cover mostly investment by single governmental bodies doing investment.

    One other thing that gets me worried is that european tenders have specific acceptance rules, which usually place a very strict emphasis on price. Meaning, you have to have some very solid arguments to pick anything óther than the cheapest price. This’ll lead to even more deterioration of book quality and is, imho, a bigger factor than the no competency. Don’t forget that competing on quality is still a factor even if there’s a buyer’s monopoly, especially once you consider the fact that there’s still an international market (although it’s pretty small for dutch-only books…). There’s just no niches in this market, as there’s just one buyer. But if you force that buyer to decide on price, such as the tender law virtually does…

    By the way, they recently said that at least for this year, the plan was deemed impossible and scrapped, partially because of the reason you mentioned.

  2. I’d say it’s a low amount, yet that might have to do with me being fairly knowledgeable with clustered schools.
    I’m pretty familiar with a group of schools called Penta-College, which has 7 schools of about 5800 students in total, and 540+ teachers. My own highschool had about 800 students in two locations, and now has grown to three locations which hold 1100+ students. Recently, they’ve merged into a bigger cluster of 6 schools and is now totalling 5200+ students and 550+ employees. I’ll be easy for any of those clusters to go over the 250K in a tender.

    Other than the above, I agree with you. European tenders focus on price instead of quality. It’ll probably lead to the (poor) translation of a German schoolbook into Dutch by a Romanian to be sold back to us by a Frenchman who sees the gap in the market.
    Europe: yay!

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