International Bureau of Education
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Progress made in uncovering the IBE Historical Textbook Collection



In the last year the IBE has taken great strides in systematizing its Historical Textbook Collection. The rich and vast collection includes over 18,000 textbooks from the late 1700s to the 1980s sent by ministries of education and publishers, representing more than 140 countries and all UNESCO regions.

The collection contains textbooks in more than ninety-seven different languages, including those considered by UNESCO to be endangered and at high risk of disappearing. It covers a wide range of subject textbooks as well as teaching guides for basic education, vocational training and adult education.  To researcher and education specialists this collection offers the potential of a clear reflection of countries’ education models over a span of three centuries, as well as the influence of their philosophical, social, political and economic realities on education.

Since the summer of 2012 the IBE team has organized more than 11,000 textbooks by title, publication year, subject area, language, country and UNESCO region and begun to document their initial findings. The IBE is also currently exploring partnerships with academic and research institutions in order to preserve this important collection and make it accessible to researchers, practitioners and the wider public.