Katha’s stories will now be available at the click of a mouse

At the Katha Lab School in Govindpuri, a unique experiment took flight recently. Katha, an independent publishing house with over 200 children’s books and 110 translations from 21 Indian languages, entered into a partnership with Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Although Encyclopaedia Britannica discontinued their best known product – the print edition of their encyclopaedia – in 2012, they have continued to increase their digital footprint.

The partnership entails Britannica making available its learning products and reference material in Katha schools and learning centres for underprivileged children in India as part of its corporate social responsibility. It will also convert Katha books into ebooks and distribute them worldwide.

From the resources at its disposal, Katha will compile a Literature Reader as curricular textbook for classes 1-8 for Britannica to publish and market in India. Britannica will also take this reader to schools offering Indian curriculum overseas.

“If we go back, storytelling has been the earliest form of learning. It is very important in the formative years. This partnership is about two entities. Katha who is the story teller, and Britannica, whose aim is to promote knowledge without boundaries. This partnership is about taking these stories to the world,” said Sarvesh Shrivastava, managing director – South Asia, Encyclopaedia Britannica.

“We are focusing on a concept called digital libraries. We are promoting e-books across the world. We have started to do that in India as well. Katha books, with their storytelling for learning, will be a good offering along with the digital library. This is also an opportunity where indian stories will be able to go outside India, across the world. That is the focus of this partnership,” he added, stressing that digital libraries will ensure inclusive access to education and knowledge.

Explaining the rationale for the partnership, Geeta Dharmarajan, founder and executive director of Katha, said, “Basically we are looking at a situation where Indian stories are not reaching the world population of children...We have a huge diaspora, which is not getting the stories. The hope is with Encyclopeadia Britannica, we will be able to take Indian stories to this population of children outside through e-books.”