Dáil Éireann - Volume 497 - 26 November, 1998
Written Answers - School Textbooks.
Mr. R. Bruton Mr. R. Bruton
177. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science the likely range within which the cost of school books will fall for junior and senior pupils at primary level and junior and senior cycle pupils at secondary level based on standard curricula. [25277/98]
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin) Micheál Martin
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): At primary level, decisions on which  books to use are taken at school level. Similarly, at second level, apart from a small number of prescribed texts, mainly in the case of language subjects, decisions on which books to use are also taken at school level. School authorities have been advised regularly that textbooks should be changed only to the extent that is absolutely necessary. Syllabus planners are conscious of the need to avoid over frequent changes, primarily in order to minimise increases in the cost burden for parents. Textbooks require to be changed periodically, however, to enable teachers to keep their own and their students' work educationally stimulating and to ensure that context and methodology are kept up to date.
A report by Cooney-Carey Consultants in 1993, commissioned by my Department estimated that the costs of books only for primary school pupils average £38.32 per head for pupils in standards I-VI and £11.19 per head for pupils in infant classes. When the cost of workbooks for infant classes are included it is estimated that the cost of books for infants averages at £17 per head. The report also found that the median bills faced by parents for new books was £150 at both junior certificate and leaving certificate levels. The report concluded that book rental schemes offer the most practical method of curtailing the cost of school books to parents at primary and post primary levels.
In regard to the cost to parents of textbooks, my Department makes provision for the payment of assistance towards the cost of textbooks in the case of necessitous pupils at both primary and second level. In addition, school authorities are being encouraged and supported to introduce textbook loan-rental schemes.
Dáil Éireann 497 Written Answers School Textbooks.