The amendments to the Law on Textbooks were not initiated by the Ministry of Education, Danas was told in that ministry, and on the other hand, the Association of Textbook Publishers says that such a proposal did not come from them.
The Ministry denies that the letter sent to the publishers has anything to do with the idea of Aleksandar Kavčić who publishes pdf editions of some textbooks on his foundation’s website, which appeared as an insinuation in public after the content of that email “leaked” on social networks.
– At the regular meeting with publishers, within the item miscellaneous, some publishers raised the issue of amending the Law on Textbooks, since the current one was adopted in 2018. Representatives of the Ministry asked the meeting participants to submit their proposals on which articles of the law need to be changed. The Ministry of Education did not initiate changes to the Law on Textbooks, but, as stated in the letter, generally considers the legislation in order to improve it. Expressing the interest of actors outside the Ministry in writing does not necessarily mean that the decision to change the law will be made, but that we are interested in looking at all the problems and trying to solve them. If the Ministry starts thinking about changing the Law on Textbooks, the public will be informed in a timely manner and nothing will be done hastily, the Ministry told Danas.
On the other hand, several publishing houses claim that the publishers did not propose that the law be changed, which is why they themselves were surprised by the Ministry’s e-mail and the extremely short deadline of only a few days in which to submit their proposals and explanations.
– We did not have any objections to the law, but because the application of the valid law was missing. An electronic textbook register would clearly show whether or not there is a monopoly on the textbook market. The conflict of interest is clearly defined in the law, but it is absolutely not respected – says Nada Stojanović, director of the publishing house “Matematiskop”, some of the comments she made at the mentioned meeting.
The fact that the Commission for Protection of Competition asked them to submit data on business operations in the last three years also caused doubts among publishers. The Commission told Danas that this is a regular sector analysis procedure based on Article 47 of the Law on Protection of Competition.
The article states that “the Commission may analyze the state of competition in a certain branch of the economy or certain categories of agreements in different branches of the economy (sector analysis), in cases where price movements or other circumstances indicate the possibility of restricting, distorting or preventing competition.” The law stipulates that “in order to conduct sectoral analyzes, the Commission may require market participants to submit all necessary data or documents and may conduct all necessary research.”
This is, by the way, the first time that such an analysis has been done when it comes to the textbook market.
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Source: Dnevni list Danas by www.danas.rs.
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