Despite the year’s mixed market conditions, we published resources for schools across more than 175 countries and saw growth in some regions such as China, Pakistan, and Australia. However, other areas were impacted by a number of challenges including volatile economic conditions such as currency devaluations in Argentina, Brazil, and Turkey and a sluggish economy in Malaysia; increasing favour for book rental and second-hand resources; and piracy, which particularly dented our performance in Tanzania.
Delays in implementation of education reform affected the market in Spain where demand for educational resources continued to decline, while in Kenya an increased move towards tender-based procurement fundamentally changed the educational publishing landscape. We responded to this by reshaping our East African business to best operate in the new climate. There is, however, an emerging opportunity for long-term growth in the Kenya private education market, and the Spanish market is expected to enter a period of reform-led growth next year.
In India, the push for government-published textbooks, along with the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) issuing a restriction on the weight of school bags, posed challenges for our schools publishing. However, we did see positive interest in our digital offerings in schools and institutions as a reduction in the cost of internet data spurred connectivity across the country, particularly in suburban and rural areas.