Monday, July 18, 2011

A Blog Posting that all Israelis can agree on.

Finally, after searching high and low for a common denominator post that will resonate equally among all Israelis, I have decided that enough is enough.

If there is one issue that we can all rally around, it is the annual, insane cost of school books.

Since the vast majority of school children in Israel benefit from State-funded public education, it is insane that school books are the responsibility of the parents.

According to a recent Knesset Committee report, the average 3rd grade student needs to pay 550 NIS per year for school books, and the average 4rth grade student, 590 NIS. As your kids advance in school, the charge for school books goes up.

The most depressing item is the statement that: "The Ministry of Education does not regulate school books. The expense of publication of new books and revisions is wasteful, and the parents pay the price."

Instead of having a printed, hard cover text book that gets reused from year to year, exasperated parents need to buy brand new revisions, with workbooks that are only partially used every year (and then thrown away/recycled). Why aren't students required to simply copy the questions over into a notebook, along with the answers?

While frustrating to students, this is one of the most time-tested and true methods of remembering material.

Not only is the payment for the books a problem, but the pain in the backside of having to buy all the books, per child, which are never fully in stock, and never all at the same book store.

"Oh, we don't have that book in stock yet...try again in a week...or try another store..." -- and if you have a few children, this entire nerve wracking episode is completely superfluous. Why aren't all the books available -- from the school, for free? Heck, I'd even pay some money if the school would take care of providing all the textbooks.

Of course, who gains from this wasteful situation? The book publishers, who gleefully rake in the profits over the lack of Ministry of Education regulation...

Apparently, MK Anastasia Michaelli is leading the campaign for better solutions. I hope that she manages to improve the current situation.


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11 comments:

Tech Bubby said...

an ipad for each kid; textbooks "bought" for ipad, updated as soon as information changes. Has to be cheaper and easier to carry in the backpack.

Rafi (S) said...

I heard that this is close to the proposed solution. Requiring the book publishers to provide a discount e-version of every text book.

Michael Sedley said...

e-books would also solve another problem, the weight of an average child's chool bag.

With regard to books, most schools in Modi'in offer a service through a company called Book Market (I belive other companies offer a similar service).
They rent out school books for the year for a relatively small fee, provided that the books are retuned at the end of the year in reasonable condition.

When you sign up for the program, you need to make a donation of the previous year's textbooks, and in exchange you'll get all the books that you require.
The company gets list of books directly from the school, and they are responsable to purchase difficult-to-find books.

Solves a lot of hassel and expense.
(Although I still don't know why school's can't buy class sets of textbooks like they did in the old country)

Meir, Ariel said...

http://techcrunch.com/2011/07/18/amazon-launches-kindle-textbook-rental-service-allows-students-to-store-notes-in-the-cloud/

annie said...

I too don't understand why this idea of yours has not been adopted by Israeli schools years ago. When I grew up in England in the 60s and 70s that was how school books were obtained - through the school. The student's name was noted on a form stuck inside the front cover and it had to be returned at the end of the year, or the cash equivalent paid to buy a new one if it got lost.

In my kids' school in Petach Tikva students would resell their books at a discount to students in the lower classes. But so often the school decided to use a new book for a certain subject, or a new edition (with really minor changes) would be issued and the school would insist on using the new edition only.

And don't mention workbooks! Grrr! How many Amazon rainforests have been felled to print those things which cannot be recycled on to the next child in line.

Mr. Matzliach said...

Jameel,
There's another issue that affects all Israelis - the proposed 19% hike in electricity rates! There is still time to object. Read this article to learn how!
Protest the huge rise in electricity prices!

Mikeage said...

I just hope the solution is not to eliminate the free market for books, where each seller can set his own prices, offer discounts, etc, and require us to buy from the school.

Because despite what certain politicians think, government run monopolies are not good for consumers.

rutimizrachi said...

Ah, yet another reason to bask in the glow of my youngest child's graduation from high school...

keren said...

Yet in my school (which I think could be yours too), they asked parents to register for a book lending scheme and not enough people wanted to do it.

(Personally I did not register as we have many of the books at home from my older boys, I am at my 4th son in the same school, and in fact am able to recycle text books in elementary school through 4 boys).

Another school one of my kids learnt at, did have a sort of book loaning scheme but you were not allowed to take books home at all.

Problem is high school as each of my kids went to a different high school.

Nachum said...

I suppose Michaeli has more cause for concern, on a personal level, than most...

Eliezer said...

My children's school did us a favor last year, and worked with a bookseller to get all of the books for the children. It was still a small fortune, but at least I didn't have to run around finding books, and there was a bit of a discount as well.

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