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article imageSpanish mother-of-two starts petition for free school textbooks

By Anne Sewell     Aug 29, 2013 in World
Elena Alfaro has already collected almost 210,000 signatures on a petition which she hopes will make the Spanish government introduce "book banks" for school textbooks.
A survey run by the Spain Consumer Organization (OCU), has found that Spanish parents pay an average of €189 per child in a public state school and €243 per child in a private institution for text books, amounts that many families just cannot afford.
In recent months, due to the economic crisis, scholarships for textbooks and school dining have been withdrawn.
Due to this, Alfaro is getting widespread support for her petition from other Spanish families who have either struggled with paying the high prices for school textbooks each year or just simply cannot afford them. The petition is being addressed to the Director of Education in each region, as well as the Spanish Ministry of Education.
Alfaro told Spanish news agency Europa Press, "It’s not fair that kids have to go through this."
"They end up not wanting to go to school because they feel isolated if they don’t have the newest books."
While saying that the problem “can’t be resolved with charity”, Alvaro says that the best solution would be book ownership by the schools themselves. This type of scheme is common in most European countries. Parents pay a small deposit on the books lent to the students and they receive this back when textbooks are returned at the end of the school year.
Alfaro says that at present, this type of scheme is only being applied in regions like Andalucia, the Basque Country and Aragon, and needs to be more widespread.
Despite gathering signatures and attention from her petition, Alfaro has so far had no success with the Education Ministry and Spain’s ombudsman.
She argues that, "Text books should be like desks: available and free from the start of the school year."
"The current system makes no sense and we’ve been dragging it along since the start of democracy in Spain. It’s time to say 'enough'."
Anyone wishing to support the petition can do so here, and for those who speak Spanish, in the video below Alfaro speaks about the petition:
More about Spain, School, Textbooks, book fund, book banks
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