Book rental scheme to include all primary schools

Union says funding will do ‘little more than one additional text book’ for most schools


Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has extended funding for the new book rental scheme to include all primary schools.

In January, Mr Quinn defended a new €15m book rental scheme, which was available to just 20 per cent of primary schools.

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) had criticised his decision not to include schools who did not have a scheme as “nothing more than a slap in the face” to schools who had set up a programme at their own expense.

However, today, Mr Quinn announced about € 8.3m would now be available to be divided between schools that already had a book rental scheme in operation.

“Every primary school has now been given the opportunity to benefit from the funding I secured for book rental schemes,” Mr Quinn said.

Mr Quinn said he had received 400 applications from the 531 schools who had indicated they did not have book loan schemes.

He said the cost was calculated at about €6.7 million and was expected to benefit more than 63,000 pupils and their families.

Mr Quinn said the balance had allowed him to extend the funding to all primary schools.

“When I first announced this scheme which targeted only primary schools who were not operating a Book Rental Scheme, many of the other schools voiced their concern at being left out, despite the hard work of many parents and teachers to establish such schemes,” he said.

“I am delighted that we will be able to provide an extra boost to these other schools which should allow them to expand or replace some books on their own schemes.”

Disadvantaged Deis schools without any book rental scheme are expected to receive €150 per child over three years while non-Deis schools will receive €100 per child.

Schools with existing rental programmes are expected to receive significantly less at €18 per child and disadvantaged Deis will get €20 per child.

INTO spokesman Peter Mullan said the extended funding would be a “marginal improvement for most schools”.

“In 88 per cent of schools the funding will provide little more than one additional text book. It is limited and will do very little to tackle the cost of going to school,” he said.

“They are still being discriminated against because of the hard work of parents and teachers to establish such schemes.”

Mr Mullan said the Minister needed to make changes so that all schools, pupils and families are treated fairly and equitably.