Imagine being in school and having to rely only on what your teacher says or writes on the blackboard to grasp a concept. Without a textbook to refer to, teachers have a harder time teaching, and students have a harder time learning. In fact, access to learning materials is cited as a key strategy to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal for Education.
According to the latest policy paper by the GEM Report, textbooks are central to improving learning in low-income countries, especially in schools with large class sizes and a high proportion of untrained teachers.
However, in many countries students at all levels either lack textbooks or must share them with their classmates. In Cameroon for example, as of 2012, there was only 1 reading textbook for 12 students and only 1 mathematics textbook for 14 students in grade 2. In addition, if governments do not invest in learning materials and textbooks the burden falls on parents, further disadvantaging poorer students.