Free Government textbooks being sold on the streets, Minister reveals

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 20:00

Education Minister Anthony Garcia says the Ministry has reason to believe that textbooks provided by the Ministry freely for the use of students are being sold on the streets of Port-of-Spain.

The Minister made the statement at today's post-Cabinet media conference, where he also announced that the Government will top up the supply of free textbooks by 10 percent from Standard One to Form Six.

Books sold on the streets

The Minister says an audit into the free textbooks revealed that there is an excess in the system and in some cases, principals complained about having no room to store the books.

He added that some textbooks with school stamps were being sold on streets.

"Those persons who are engaged in that practise should be brought before the courts because that is an act of dishonesty. Those books should be for the schools," Minister Garcia said.

"There is reason to believe that some textbooks did not even make it to the schools. The publishers were paid for it and possibly those are the ones that made it to the streets," he added.

Principals, parents to account

He says the Ministry is asking principals to ensure that after students use the textbooks, they return them to the schools.

He wants parents to also sign to confirm that the books are returned.

The Minister noted that when the Ministry decided last year to replenish textbooks by 10 percent, there was a "hue and a cry" from some sectors.

But with the audit showing an excess, he says the Ministry is confident this year's 10 percent top-up will ensure all students are adequately supplied with textbooks.

179 schools require repair

On the issue of school repairs, he told the post-Cabinet news conference that a total of 179 schools had submitted requests for infrastructural improvements over the July-August holiday period.

But the Minister is giving the assurance that all schools will be ready when schools reopen in September.