Galway East Deputy Michael Kitt has said the Government left Galway schools “high and dry” by refusing to open up the school book rental initiative to all schools in Co. Galway.
His comments came after Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn confirmed that76 per cent of schools would continue to be excluded from the new school book rental initiative, meaning none of the new funding will be available to schools in Co. Galway that have a book rental scheme, irrespective of resources.
“The Minister is punishing the Galway schools that took the initiative to establish a book rental scheme at great expense to parents, teachers and school management,” said Deputy Kitt.
“I know many local schools that technically have a book rental scheme, but it is only in its infant stages, is significantly under resourced and is not available to all students in all subjects. Many schemes were established on the basis of fundraising, parent contributions and the generous donation of used books. But they still need much more investment,” he said.
Deputy Kitt said Minister Quinn had made “no attempt to assess the need of individual schools” and accused the Labour Minister of not caring whether the existing schemes are in any way adequate.
“How is it fair that some schools will get tens of thousands of Euro to establish a book rental scheme while others won’t see a cent, even if their existing scheme is under-resourced?
“When this initiative was announced, Minister Quinn gave the impression that all schools in Galway and across the country would be eligible for funding to ensure they have an adequate and functional book rental scheme. It’s now become clear that 76 per cent of schools won’t get any funding whatsoever. The Minister is leaving these schools – and their pupils – out to dry,” said Leas-Ceann Comhairle.
“What kind of message does it send out to schools and parents who take the initiative to improve the facilities for students off their own bat? Minister Quinn’s actions will discourage such initiative by our schools in the future,” he said.