A public campaign to reduce the publication of unnecessary new schoolbook editions is being promoted by the Society of St Vincent de Paul.

SVP Petition to Minister

The petition is available at www.svp.ie/books.

A public campaign to reduce the publication of unnecessary new schoolbook editions is being promoted by the Society of St Vincent de Paul.

It is asking parents to sign a petition calling on the Minister for Education and Skills to set up an effective national book rental scheme.

“The constant flow of unnecessary new editions means that families are forced to keep forking out for new texts, while tonnes of books end up dumped. It’s crazy – and unnecessary.” said SVP National President Mairead Bushnell.
“Education is a right, and it’s supposed to be free. But Ireland is one of only a few European countries to make even the poorest pay for books. It’s a shocking burden on hard-pressed families. By the time they leave school, a family with four children could have spent as much as €3,200 on secondary school books alone, that most of the time, can’t even be reused.” she said In most European countries schools run school book rental schemes, where schools buy the books and rent or loan them out to students in return for a small fee or deposit. This means that teachers can set a book and be sure that there are enough copies for all their students.

A book rental scheme would help every family in Ireland, and reduces the unnecessary spend on new school book editions each year.
At the moment the Department of Education and Skills gives money to schools to spend on books, but the schools do not have to set up a book rental scheme. If funding for books only went to schools who had book rental schemes, more schools would set them up. Frequent new revisions would become a thing of the past as the books could be reused.

The Society of St Vincent de Paul regularly sees families, struggling to deal with the costs of preparing for a new school term. The SVP spends just under €4m per annum supporting families with a range of education costs. It want to see a change in policy on schoolbooks which would lift some of this burden off families altogether.