Budgeting needed for textbook purchases at school libraries

October 21, 2022 - 07:29
It is necessary to conduct a survey on borrowing books to prevent wastefulness in procurement, said Quảng Ngãi director of education and training department.
Teachers prepare textbooks for the library at Đinh Thanh Kháng Ethnic Boarding Primary and Secondary School in the central Quảng Ngãi Province. — Photo giaoducthoidai.vn

QUẢNG NAM/QUẢNG NGÃI — With differing demand for textbooks among school libraries, proper budgeting is needed to suit the socio-economic conditions of each locality.

Over the past two years, Trà Mai Commune of Nam Trà My District, Quảng Nam Province has become a new rural area.

Following this change, the local Trà Mai Secondary Boarding School for Ethnic Students could no longer receive subsidies for school supplies, according to the Government’s Decree 81.

Nguyễn Khắc Điệp, the school principal, told Giáo dục & Thời đại (Education & Times): “From the commune’s budget, our school receives the textbooks for the new general education curriculum for the library.

“At the start of the school year, students will borrow books to use during the whole academic year.

“For workbooks, we will make copies so each student can write in them, while the original copy is kept at the library.”

For the books to be reusable for years, the school has a rule that if students lose or damage their textbooks, they will have to pay a fine.

“However, the regulation is only intended to minimise the number of damaged textbooks after a year of use, and has never been imposed,” said Điệp.

“Each year, the school has to buy an additional five to 10 per cent of the books for the library,” he added.

Each set of textbooks could be used for three years, while the communal budget now can only allow for one purchase of textbooks in the new general education curriculum.

For the future, the school has yet to find a financial resource to buy more textbooks for the library so that students can continue borrowing.

Điệp said: “We have also thought of encouraging parents to buy textbooks for their children.

“However, with the local socio-economic situation and income level, this will be a challenge for a majority of parents.”

Meanwhile, Đinh Thanh Kháng Ethnic Primary and Secondary Boarding School in Quảng Ngãi Province just used VNĐ80 million (US$3,300) to buy textbooks for this academic year.

This amount was spent to buy new textbooks for third and seventh grades, and replace lost or damaged textbooks for the rest.

Nguyễn Minh Anh, the school principal, said: “This purchase of textbooks means that spending for small maintenance or for supplies and equipment will be further limited.

Director of Quảng Ngãi Province Department of Education and Training Nguyễn Ngọc Thái said: “For a long time now, whether in favourable or disadvantaged areas, schools always buy textbooks, teacher books and reference books for teachers and students to borrow.

“However, except for those in the ethnic minority or extremely difficult localities, there is little demand for borrowing textbooks, if any.”

He believed that the education and training ministry’s proposal, which plans to spend the budget on textbooks for libraries for 70 per cent of students, needs to take into account the socio-economic conditions of each locality.

It is also necessary to conduct a survey on the needs of students on borrowing books to prevent wastefulness in procurement, he added.

For heads of schools like Khắc Điệp and Minh Anh, the proposal is great news, especially for schools in remote areas, as it will help ease the burden for schools in calculating the budget for supplies. — VNS