Al-Watan learned from reliable sources that the shortage of elementary school books that are distributed free of charge to pupils at the beginning of each year will be important in schools.
The shortage will reach about fifty percent, which will have negative repercussions on students, schools, and the education system if the issue is not remedied without delay either by the General Establishment for School Books or through recycling used books.
Director General of the General Establishment for School Books Zuhair Salman told Al-Watan that the inability to secure new books for students in the first to the ninth grade is due to several reasons — including those related to raw materials whose prices have increased greatly, as the price of a ton of paper used to be about 45 thousand Syrian Pounds while it is now 2.5 million Syrian Pounds. This is due to the blockade in addition to the coronavirus lockdown.
Salman pointed out that only about fifty percent of new books will be distributed for grades one through three. The remaining fifty percent are old books owned by schools, which have not been disposed of yet. New books will be distributed for 75 percent of fourth grade students all the way up to the end of elementary education. The rest will be used books that schools will distribute.
In response to the information confirming that many schools have sold old books they had received from students and no longer [the schools] have books, Salman clarified that ministerial instructions prevent any school from utilizing used books for two years after receiving them from students. He added that many of the schools respected the instructions. However, those who did not comply might be held accountable by the ministry and its directorates.
Salman stressed that the General Establishment for School Books, in cooperation with the Directorates of Education and under the guidance of the ministry, is doing everything it can to rectify the situation and deliver books, whether new or used, to students without delay.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.