South Africa: NSFAS’s Decision to Pay Students Cash Has Decimated Textbook Sales – the Result Could Be an Academic Tsunami


Concerned role players in the academic publishing and bookselling sector have formed an Alliance for Academic Success comprising more than 30 stakeholders with decades of student experience and data after noticing an alarming change in South African students’ consumer behaviour earlier in 2019. More precisely: far fewer students have bought their prescribed textbooks in the first half of 2019 than in previous years.

Initial sales data for the first six months of 2019 have backed up our earlier concerns. In some university bookstores, the unit sales of academic books have dropped by up to 91% compared to the first half of 2018. This phenomenon isn’t isolated to a handful of stores – it alarmingly appears nationally. And most worrying of all is that stores near institutions catering to historically disadvantaged financial aid students are most affected.

But from Cape Town to Alice, Siyabuswa and beyond, it appears students have spent their textbook funding on other needs and wants.

The Alliance for Academic Success is concerned that the quality and skills and even the number of graduates our higher education institutions develop will be directly impacted. Certainly, textbooks alone are not the sum of academic performance or the singular solution, but…

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Publish date : 2019-08-28 09:47:05

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