free textbooks in primary school

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by Encolpius, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Hello, are the Czech republic and Slovakia the only countries where primary school children get all their textbooks for free? In Hungary pupils have to buy all the books. How about your country?
  2. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo

    Public schools in the U.S. usually loan students all textbooks for free up through secondary school. But our public educational system is totally decentralized across 50 states and even then, much authority is exercised at the local level by thousands of county authorities--so it is difficult to make a universal statement for the U.S. reality.

    At the university level students must buy all their own books--and university textbooks in the U.S. are extremely expensive. The average university student spends between US$300 and $1000 each year if s/he buys the books new.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  3. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil
    No. :) The law is old in another format though (1929) and it was and is destined to elementar school students.
    From 2001 on, the program included audio and braille textbooks. And from 2011, the program will include foreign language textbooks for students from the 6th to the 9th elementary series. High schools students will be included in 2012.
  4. Nanon

    Nanon Senior Member

    Entre Paris et Lisbonne
    français (France)
    Primary school children get their textbooks for free in France, too.
    During the first part of secondary (collège), books are free as well. During the last three years (lycée), textbooks are not always free, various local systems exist, some schools get help for buying the books, sometimes the financial help goes to families. When schoolbooks are not free, students can recycle them at second-hand sales.
    Here is a link to the French regulatory framework.
  5. Miguelillo 87

    Miguelillo 87 Senior Member

    Mexico City
    México español
    Here in Mexico primary and secondary school gives the text books by free. When I was studying 1992-2001 only primary text books where free, and secondary school give you the books as a loan when the year finishes you had to gove back those books.

    Nowadays it's better you can keep them!!! (or some other just drawn on them jejej)
  6. ElFrikiChino

    ElFrikiChino Senior Member

    Italian (Mantova)
    In Italy a student attending public school has to pay for his own book from 1st grade/elementary school up to his MA/University. Some laws say Education until age 16 is free and guaranteed by the State, but it'a actually not true. And the books cost a lot of money. There are some High-Schools, however, that lend the books to the students who return them when the schoolyear is over.
  7. trbl Member

    Germany, like the US, has a decentralized educational system. In nine out of sixteen states, students have to purchase their textbooks. I'm not sure though whether this applies to secondary school only or to primary school as well.
  8. emm1366 Senior Member

    In Colombia the government gives books and notebooks to the poorest schools. Some people also make donations. Nobody takes care of who or where these books must be given, but they ensure these are in the right hands.
  9. slowik Senior Member

    I don't think children in Poland can get books for free ('get books for free' as in coming to school and getting a set of all the books). There is a wide range of books and every teacher chooses one he'll use throughout the school-year. The list of all the books needed is nearly always announced at the end of summer so the bookshops are raided by parents every last two weeks of august :) What I'm trying to say is that you can get the money for books and school utensils from the government but you have to buy them yourself. Whether you'll get the money or not depends on the income per a family member ratio, as far as I know. And I'm not sure if you can get a full refund.

    Also, textbooks are very often bought used. I remember buying nearly all my textbooks used in high school and junior high. There even are fairs organized by schools were older pupils can sell their books to younger students. And to be honest I think there is no reason to buy a new book if you can get a used one at a much lower price.

    Sadly, primary school books are those that you often have to buy brand new because of their design (exercises, stickers that pupils have to stick into pages of books etc.). But then again if you're on a budget you can seek for help from the government.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010
  10. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    In Austria all school textbooks are free - parents only will have to pay a symbolic account at the beginning of each year (for each pupil), I'm not sure how high it is, probably around 20 or so euros per year (which of course only is a very small percentage of the whole cost: this was introduced sometime in the 1990ies to reduce our budget deficit).

    This is the so-called "Schulbuchaktion", it was introduced by Bruno Kreisky in the early 1970ies - then there wasn't even a symbolic amount to pay, they were entirely free.
    The "Schulbuchaktion" applies for all students in primary, secondary and "higher" education (the latter is approximately equivalent to US high school), but not for university - at university you'll have to pay again for all your books.

    Only if schools for some reason go over budget parents will have to pay for those books needed which exceed the budget of a school; school budgets were bigger in the 1970ies and 1980ies, they were cut down significantly later so that in many cases schools do not manage to get all their books within the "Schulbuchaktion" budget - so in some cases it is necessary to buy some books. But the basic needs (most textbooks and even some reading material) usually is covered.

    In Germany the system is completely different from Austria: there textbooks aren't free.
  11. Miguelillo 87

    Miguelillo 87 Senior Member

    Mexico City
    México español
    In Mexico we have to give a "symbolic" pay, It's not too much like 5 usd or less per year. It's not for text book but for other expenses the school may have and they want to have an extra money besides the states in the budget
  12. Chaska Ñawi

    Chaska Ñawi modus borealis

    an old Ontario farmhouse
    Canadian English
    It would lead to much less vandalism if the textbooks were not free, incidentally.

    A girlfriend spends much of her time removing amateurish drawings of ejaculating penises from her students' texts. One wishes that their parents had been forced to buy or rent said texts instead.
  13. Miguelillo 87

    Miguelillo 87 Senior Member

    Mexico City
    México español
    But in this case I understood the books are lended. Because as the text books are of your property (in Mexico) you can do whatever you want with them, as to your notebook, pencils, etc.

    Seats are the ones which suffers vandalism, and the next generation has to live with those scratches on their seats :(
  14. HUMBERT0

    HUMBERT0 Senior Member

    I don't know if it's different in the interior, but here… at least when I was kid, parents were asked to contribute with money, but it was not a federal or state requirement (public education is free at that level) but the school on behalf of the “la sociedad de padres de familia/kinda like a PTA” that charged upon registration to help the school buy erasers, chalks, paint, etc.
  15. Vampiro

    Vampiro Senior Member

    Emiratos Árabes
    Chile - Español
    Free for primary and secondary public schools in Chile too.
  16. trbl Member


    That's not true (see my post above).

    As of 2007, students have to buy their textbooks in only four states. In six states the books are loaned to the students, and in the other six teaching material is completely free.
  17. Miguelillo 87

    Miguelillo 87 Senior Member

    Mexico City
    México español
    That's what I meant. Sometimes some padres don't agree with this "contribution" because sometimes more than voluntary it's like an obligation.
  18. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Sorry, I didn't read your post properly. :)
    (You should have elaborated, how am I supposed to know. :D)

    I'm best informed about the situation in Bavaria where books are lended - students have to pay a fixed amount for their books, but they have to give it back at the end of the year (and if I remember correctly, if books are damaged at the end of the year there's some extra pay due, right?).

    In Austria the system is different - but I didn't realise that this also is the case in some German states.
    (By the way, till today I didn't know what the term "Lehrmittelfreiheit" is: I always thought it just means that schools may choose whatever books they want, but obviously it means that a system similar to our "Schulbuchaktion" is in operation. The term "Lehrmittelfreiheit" of course isn't used at all in Austria but in my line of business I've seen it used occasionally by German publishers - and always misunderstood it. :))
  19. Mr. P Mosh

    Mr. P Mosh Senior Member

    Monterrey, NL, Mex
    Español - México
    Oh yeah! I was the first secondary generation with free books, although my first year were the used ones, we keep them & my second year were totally new books (I mean, with no previous user) and totally mine. :p

    In the prepa (high school) we bought them but their cost was included in the instalment.

    In college all books are optional, the teacher just tell you some books and the one wich exercises are, but you can buy them or not.
  20. Miguelillo 87

    Miguelillo 87 Senior Member

    Mexico City
    México español
    At public high schools, you don't have to buy books either, I mean they didn't give you text books by free neither, but as a fact almost books are not requested in High school, you have the library and nowadays the Internet the enemy of the Editorials
  21. Mr. P Mosh

    Mr. P Mosh Senior Member

    Monterrey, NL, Mex
    Español - México
    Well, that can change between each state & even between each high school. I was in a UANL's high school (and I continue in a UANL's faculty, loyal to my alma mater :p) and we actually needed the books and their cost were included in the instalment each semester, were as 15 books per semester.
    I have to add that this was new because my cousins were in the same high school as me but two/three generations above and their "books" were actually just copies & original UANL's works. Mine were by various editorials the theory/text ones (as biology's one) but revised by UANL's teachers and the activity ones of less important asignatures (as "Orientación educativa") were totally original UANL's works but were normal books, not just a bunch of copies.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2010
  22. kidika

    kidika Senior Member

    Península Ibérica
    Castellano de Castilla
    Hello everyone
    In Spain parents have to pay for all the books from the very first year until the very last one. It is outrageous really, because every year the books published change slightly making it really difficult to reuse them from one year to the next. Parents end up paying an awful lot of money per child every year, the average sum being 200€ per child per year.
    Only if your income is absolutely ridiculous, you can get a book grant to help you cover some of the costs. In some places though, local authorities, such as the town council may give you about 60€ without looking into your income.
    So, at the end of the summer the schools give parents a list with all the books for the next course and when September comes it is not unusual to see parents queueing in book shops or big stores waiting to get lucky and have the whole stack of books sorted out. It is a nightmare because sometimes there´s shortage of some of them! That´s the beginning of the every-year-book-hunt. Really, nightmare!
    Education is supposed to be free in Spain in public schools, but it is far from that.
    I was pleasantly surprised to find out that in England books are provided by the school.
    Un saludo
  23. Miguelillo 87

    Miguelillo 87 Senior Member

    Mexico City
    México español

    Is UANL public or a private school?

    Does the instalment has increased since the bunch of copies dissapeared???
  24. Mr. P Mosh

    Mr. P Mosh Senior Member

    Monterrey, NL, Mex
    Español - México
    Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León is public.

    I'm not totally sure, but I think it doesn't.
  25. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    I'm quite sure that already in the early fifties when I went to primary school, all the textbooks were free. Anyway, it was absolutely forbidden to write or draw anything in your book, as you had to return it later.

    I'd like to check these facts from my parents but unfortunately they lie in their graves.
  26. Goddess Mystyxx Member

    Latin City of the South
    English / Chavacano / Spanish
    In Philippine schools, textbooks are not free. Save for some government public schools that are affiliated or funded by some foundation.

    Students often has to allocate budget every school year for textbooks in each subject. I remembered having to beg my mom in pre-school to buy me complete sets because the teachers make it compulsory.

    If you do not have a book that was assigned, either you'll be asked to leave the class, or get no extra points on your quizzes :mad: crazy, but true.
  27. ILT

    ILT Moderando con moderación

    México - Español/Castellano
    Just elaborating a bit on Miguelillo's and Posh, in México free books are given to all students in public schools, but if you choose to enroll your kid in a private school, then there'll be some books to purchase. Usually the school will make a direct purchase with the editorial, so there's no hassle or lines at bookstores, but (I believe) a mark-up for your convenience.
  28. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    In Italy it's the same as described by kidika for Spain, including the fact that
    In Britain, as kidika says, the books are the property of the school. It's strictly forbidden to write in them or deface them and if you ruin or lose them you have to pay. I remember that (in the 1960s and presumably today too) they made us put brown paper covers on them to preserve them better. This way books lasted years and years. In my day the school also provided the exercise books... but these too had to be given back at the end of the year for recycling.
  29. Machlii5 Senior Member

    Same in Germany, basically. But as education is the responsibility of each individual state, the rules can differ. In the (south-western) state of Baden-Württemberg, school-books are provided free in primary and secondary school up to the “Abitur“-examination) but have to be given back at the end of the school year. As school-buildings and learning-materials are the financial responsibility of the municipality the “running time“ of the books may vary from town to town.
    My city (which used to be quite wealthy before the economic crisis) set a minimum circulation time of three years and also offered a voucher system to parents who wanted their children to own their books. The vouchers used to cover a third of the cost of the whole set of school books for the year, and you had to buy the books from a local bookshop. Ideally these kids could build up their own reference libraries at home, but in reality there was a grey market of schoolbooks going on at the start of each school year - quite an education in entrepreneurship. ;) The good effect was that the books had to be well maintained in order to be resaleable...
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2010
  30. Δημήτρης

    Δημήτρης Senior Member

    Κύπρος - Cyprus
    Cypriot Greek
    In Cyprus, public primary, middle and high schools offer all the textbooks for free. They also provide supplementary material such as dictionaries and grammar books.
    Excluding foreign laguage textbooks, all the books are written and printed by the Ministry of Education and are rarely obtainable from other sources.
  31. Ottilie

    Ottilie Senior Member

    Romanian(1st) / Russian (2nd)
    I always got free textbooks in school,in high school as well. Not all of them were new(the older pupils used them the year before),but they were free. If one lost a text book ,it would be very difficult for him to find it in a bookshop,since they're printed by the Ministry of Education. At the end of the year,all the pupils have to return the books,so that the younger pupils can use them.
  32. thelastchoice Senior Member

    Arabic S.A.
    IN Saudi Arabia , You get all books from first year till college free of charge. In addition, there no fees for the study. Moreover, students in universities get monthly allowance. I believe education should be free everywhere and students should be encouraged by all means.
  33. Perseas Senior Member

    Athens - GR
    In Greece the same . Maybe there is an exception only for some foreign languages textbooks of Λύκειο (15-17) which students have to buy.
  34. velisarius Senior Member

    British English (Sussex)
    Regarding the issuing of free school books in English schools,Post #28, as far as I remember the books were mostly hard-back, very well bound and sturdy. In Greece as Perseas says, state schools provide the books free but there is no comparison- they are paperbacks and usually by the end of the year they have fallen to pieces. Also there is a lot of rote-learning in Greek schools, so the children are in the habit of underlining passages that need to be learned by heart.
  35. In Norway books are lend to students in primary and junior high (barneskole), but not in high school (videregående/VG skole), where students have to buy them by theirselves. Also in barneskole students get their pencils, erasers, notebooks, etc. for free and don't have to return them, don't know how it is in VG, gonna get known this year ;) Although there are some VGs where students can lend books from school, too.

    Right, but in old days (I mean, PRL) students could lend books from school and return them at the end of schoolyear.
  36. francais2008 Member

    Canadian English, Punjabi
    In Canada, from kindergarten to grade 5, students just use textbooks at school; they don't take them home (so they don't buy them). Instead, they take home workbooks which are given to them for free.
    Students in grade 6 to grade 12 borrow textbooks for free for the school year but buy their own workbooks (which are cheap).

    However in most private schools, textbooks and workbooks must be bought regardless of which grade the student is in.
  37. xmarabout

    xmarabout Senior Member

    French - Belgium
    In Belgium, for the primary school, there are not a lot of textbooks. Anyway, it depends on the network of the school if the books are free or not: half the primary schools are public (the state pays everything) and there everything is more or less free, the other half is "private" and the state only pays the teachers then you have to pay your books. It is the same for the secondary school except that the percentage of "private" schools is higher. (be careful here, "private" and "public" school really has a different meaning than in Great Britain or in the US).

    Anyway, you have more "copies" than textbooks usually.
  38. francais2008 Member

    Canadian English, Punjabi
    Do you mean notebooks or photocopies?

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