The annual schoolbook rip-off “makes a joke of free education,” according to Newstalk presenter Ciara Kelly.
As the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite, families are struggling with back-to-school costs this year more than ever.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, presenter Ciara Kelly said parents are being “ripped off” every year.
'I don't understand it and I don't think we take it seriously enough.' Ciara Kelly and Shane Coleman discuss the price of school books and the reissues which make it impossible for siblings to share books. @NTBreakfast pic.twitter.com/hCwK1yLgR8
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) September 1, 2022
She said the annual schoolbook ‘re-editions’ are often just the same book repackaged so that the page and section numbers are different.
“That can only occur - if the text is the same but all they’ve done is jumble up the sections - in order to try and sell you a new book,” she said.
“I don’t think it’s just that parents feel they’re being ripped off – parents are being ripped off.
“I have four kids who did a lot of the same subjects, and I don’t think I’ve managed to pass one book from one to the other.
“That’s not just because they were wrecked or messy and everything – they just weren’t actually transferrable. That’s kind of crazy.
“It’s crazy expensive, I don’t understand it and I don’t think we take it seriously enough.”
Fellow presenter Shane Coleman said it’s past time the government stepped in and covered the cost of schoolbooks for every child in Ireland.
“I wonder is this an example or case for the government to say, you know what, we’re going to buy all schoolbooks,” he said. “I think the cost would be about €40m.”
“In the overall scheme of things and the overall budget of the Department of Education, that’s buttons.
“They could say yeah, we’re going to do it all and you know what, we’re going to strike a pretty tough deal with all the publishers. No more nonsense about re-editions sand repackaging and all that.”
Back to school
Ciara said the uniform issue still hasn’t been tackled – noting that a school in her area has just introduced a whole new uniform with a “really extensive sports kit”.
“That’s huge expense,” she said. “Five out of six years in that school, they have to buy a new uniform.
“We don’t seem to kind of, get the fact that back-to-school [costs are far too high].
“I know there’s a grant but so many families don’t come anywhere near the grant, but they have three and four kids.
“It’s eyewatering, it’s unfair and it makes a joke of free education.”