Child rights

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Praxis Points at Deficiencies in the Competition for Allocation of Free Textbooks


Praxis believes that Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development should review the requirements of the competition for allocation of free textbooks and make them more transparent.

At the beginning of March 2015, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development announced a competition for allocation of free textbooks within the project “Free Textbooks for 2015/2016”. Unlike the previous years, when all pupils from the first to the fourth grade in primary schools were given textbooks, being thereby obliged to return the textbooks at the end of the school year, this year only socially vulnerable pupils of all grades in primary schools will receive free textbooks in a way that 15% of the pupils will receive the whole envisaged amount and 8% a half of the amount, without being obliged to return them at the end of the school year.

Praxis welcomes the abolition of former model of allocation of free textbooks, which had a series of deficiencies, and also points at non-transparency of this model and at a very short period within which the whole process was conducted. It remains unclear how belonging to some vulnerable groups will be evaluated (e.g. single parents, internally displaced persons, etc.), that is whether one vulnerable group will be given a priority over the other. Furthermore, some categories are illogically formed and thus pensioners are put in the same category as the unemployed and students, and if we consider the financial moment a pensioner may have higher income than an employee. For the pupils from the category of single parents, it is necessary to enclose the photocopy of the judgement of dissolution of marriage, despite the fact that hearings in divorce procedures are closed for the public and that explanation of the judgement includes facts which the school administration and homeroom/grade teacher are not authorized to ask for. To remind, on 19 March 2015 the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection sent the letter to the Minster of Education, Science and Technological Development where he indicated that all primary schools need to suspend further collecting of some data and delete or destroy previously collected data, given that their processing is contrary to the Law on Personal Data Protection. In addition, it is unclear how a pupil should prove that he/she is from socially vulnerable environment, since no example of vulnerable environment is given.

Praxis expresses special concern about the children who live in informal settlements without permanent residence registered, majority of whom are Roma children. Also, the competition does not include legally invisible children (children who are not registered in birth registries) and does not consider their position during the allocation of free textbooks.

Praxis notes that the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development should review the requirements of the competition, make them more transparent and improve them to as to maximally avoid all dilemmas related to evaluation of belonging to envisaged categories so as the textbooks reach the children who really need this kind of assistance. 

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Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action