By Jaroslaw Adamowski
In Romania, a local digital player aims to establish itself in Western Europe. Earlier this year, Read Forward, a Romanian startup which developed the first digital textbook in the Romanian market, launched its first international office in London to develop software and to offer digital textbook publishing services to foreign customers.
The company said in a statement it is aiming to benefit from the rapid development of the UK’s e-learning market which is expanding at a rate of about 23% per year, according to data released by Read Forward.
“The digital textbook market is about to boom in Europe,” said Paul Balogh, a co-founder of Read Forward. “However, much too often digital textbooks are just mere shadows of physical textbooks. What we aim [to do] with our software is a new type of digital textbooks, which should contribute to improving the educational process. For us, success means helping and not confusing teachers with technology.”
Read Forward was responsible for developing the first digital textbook in the Romanian market, Lecția verde (Green class), and the digital textbook of Romania’s leading publisher Humanitas. The firm was set up in 2012 by two local entrepreneurs, Cristian Dinu and Paul Balogh.
Lecția verde was released in October 2014, with textbooks available for free for first and second grade students of primary school. On the first day of its temporary online presence, the platform, which made available textbooks for Romanian, math, environmental sciences and religion, had 70,000 unique users and more than 28 million views, local media reported.
Romania’s then-Minister of Education Remus Pricopie told journalists that the government will continue to develop the digital textbook program.
“We launched this process two years ago … and today, we see the first results. They are positive and they motivate us to progress with the project,” Pricopie said. “The ministry has already opened an acquisition process to modernize the curriculum and textbooks for third and fourth grade students.”