Over 90% of Municipalities Concerned about the Use of E-textbooks

More than 90% of municipalities are concerned about the use of digital textbooks in classrooms, according to a survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun.

The survey was conducted on 74 municipal governments including 46 prefectural capitals, Tokyo’s 23 wards and government-designated major cities.

While 69 municipalities, or 93.2%, said they have anxieties and concerns about using digital textbooks, about 62 municipalities, or 83.8%, said they would prefer to use them in combination with paper textbooks.

Twenty-four cities and wards including Chiba, Nagoya, Sakai and Kagoshima said they have concerns about digital textbooks, while 45 municipalities including Sapporo, Yokohama, Osaka and Fukuoka expressed only some concern.

When asked about their concerns (with multiple answers permitted), the most common response was health effects such as poor eyesight at 55 municipalities, followed by securing a stable telecommunication environment at home at 47 municipalities.

Forty municipalities selected securing a stable telecommunication environment inside and outside school and ICT (Information and Communication Technology) skills of teachers.

Additionally, 26 municipalities including Akita, Tsu, Kyoto and Saga answered that they are concerned about a possible decrease in “writing time.”

“We are not convinced that there are no health concerns. The possible effects on health need to be examined from various angles,” the Morioka municipal government stated.

It is expected that the device will also be used at home. “Students can learn anywhere with paper textbooks, but they need a telecommunication environment when using digital materials,” the Osaka municipal government said. “Families will have to bear the burden of telecommunication costs. And if there is a technological failure, there is a risk that students will not be able to study.”