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Government must consider rollout of a free school books scheme

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This World Book Day, Labour Party Education spokesperson, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, has called on the Government to ensure that school books are free for primary school children.

Senator Ó Ríordáin said:

“At present parents are forking out on average €360 per child every September for back to school essentials. Sending multiple children to school can amount to an enormous amount of pressure on parents and means that parents often go without other essential items in order to afford books, uniforms and the so called ‘voluntary’ contributions.

“Parents shouldn’t be forced to pick up the tab for the failure of the Government to fund the actual costs of educating our children. Even in schools where parents have access to a book rental scheme, it still requires a payment of around €50 a year for an essential part of children’s education.

“Labour’s proposal is simple; a free school books scheme should be extended to all primary schools and in two years’ time roll it out in secondary schools. The initial roll out of this scheme would cost €20 million.

“On World Book Day, we encourage children to read more and take books out of their local libraries. If we are serious about promoting learning, then the books children spend most of their time with, their school books, should be free.”

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