Irish schools should abandon textbooks in favour of online educational content, says Fergus O’Dowd, FG education spokesman.
“Texas and California are investigating the use of ‘open source textbooks’, providing approved digital texts online, written by educational experts such as retired teachers but made available for free or at a discounted price for printed versions,” he said.
“There, educational book companies have been forced to move away from the traditional textbook market towards educational resource packages with teaching aids and resources.
“We have online educational resources such as Scoilnet. Unfortunately lack of progress in rolling out broadband to schools has limited the value of this resource and strengthened the position of book publishers.
“Surely it is possible in the digital age to place text books and updates free to view on line with a graduated charge for black and white or colour printing extracts?
“Equally, we have many unemployed graduates and retired teachers who may be interested in becoming involved in compiling educational material for online use and developing web based resources.
“The cost of going back to school is rising year on year. We cannot expect parents to pay for new editions of textbooks annually.”