The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn, has launched new “Guidelines for Developing Textbook Rental Schemes in Schools” in Presentation Primary School, Warrenmount, Dublin 8. The Guidelines provide practical advice to primary and post-primary schools on how rental schemes can be established and operated.
Schools which already have rental schemes can save parents up to 80% of the cost of buying new books. The aim of these Guidelines is to help as many schools as possible to start such book rental programmes.
A special “Guide for Parents” is also being published, to inform them of how the schemes operate and how parents can help schools to establish and run them.
Tackling the costs associated with school is a priority of Minister Quinn’s. Today’s publications build on other measures such as protecting the budget for school book grants at €15 million over the past two years, despite economic pressures. The Minister and the Department consulted widely on the guidelines including working closely with the two National Parents’ Councils, St. Vincent De Paul and Barnardos to discuss ways of reducing the costs for parents.
Those consultations resulted in a commitment from the Irish Educational Publishers Association to limiting the publication of new editions and to maintaining editions of books in print, unchanged for at least six years. The publishers also gave assurances that they would sell books for rental schemes to schools at substantial discounts.
Speaking today, the Minister said, “I have been very clear in my support for book rental schemes. All of us who are parents know how expensive textbooks can be and what a burden it places on already hard pressed families at the start of every school year.”
The publication of the Guidelines follows a survey of schools by the Department’s Inspectorate last year. This had a 99% response rate at primary level, and showed that 76% of primary schools operate a book rental scheme. At second level, the response rate was lower, at 44%. Of those which did respond, 88% of those in the VEC sector and 73% of those in the Community & Comprehensive sector operated a book rental scheme.
Minister Quinn continued, “These results show that we have a good foundation to build on across the country. I hope that schools who are not yet operating book rental schemes will be encouraged to use the Guidelines to introduce them. If they do, it will result in substantial savings for parents.”