Teachers critical of free books

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Teachers are concerned that making school books free will shift focus from quality to price.

6 December 2007

THE HAGUE – Teachers suspect that they will be required to use school books for a longer period than is now the case, even if they are outdated, if the government grants schools money to buy books. The teachers feel that school administrations will look more at the price of school books than at the quality of the material.

This has emerged from a survey published on Thursday by the Group of Educational Publishers (GEU), which polled 1,114 teachers. The teachers are also concerned that they will have less say over what teaching materials are used in schools.

Spokesperson for the GEU Stephan de Valk says that these concerns of teachers may be justified. "In primary education we have seen that old books continued to be used, despite the fact that they did not include recent geographical changes. Children were also still learning to calculate with guilders even though the euro had been introduced some time before."

The GEU thinks it is a good idea in theory that parents will be relieved if schools are given the money to buy school books from 2008. But the sector group points out that it does not look yet as if enough money has been put aside.

The organisation also wants to see guarantees that the schools will actually use the money to buy books.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news