SOME SCHOOLBOOKS for this academic year, which began more than two weeks ago, are sold out. Others, according to some media sources, are still being printed. Parents are complaining about the lack of understanding from teachers.
Apparently, those materials most affected are the books for the third and sixth years of junior school and the grade 12 of secondary school.
Susana Almeida, of Texto Editora, the key publisher involved, has admitted that there are some delays in the printing of certain textbooks. However, she has justified the delay: “Only in July did the teachers indicate to the publishers which books had been chosen for this school year. Being given only one month, it was impossible for us to do any better.
“The editors provide the teachers with the books to analyse and a decision is made in conjunction with the Ministry of Education. Details of the selection made by the teachers were made available to the editors during the month of July,” explained Susana Almeida. “Therefore, only after this had happened, could the publishers begin re-printing the books, knowing the quantities required. It is practically impossible to re-print everything in the space of little more than a month.”
The Confederação Nacional das Associações de Pais, the national confederation for parent associations, is complaining about the teachers, not criticising the delay of the publishers. They know about cases of pupils being singled out and told off for not having their books. “We are receiving various complaints from parents who say that teachers are going to start making a note of missing materials,” she said.
At Portuguese schools you can get a ‘minus’ score if you don’t have the necessary material for the lessons. If you have several of these, disciplinary action might be taken. Susana Almeida describes the teachers’ behaviour as incomprehensible and unacceptable.