Encourage children to share their textbooks

The Share-A-Textbook project has benefited many since it was started, and is a worthy scheme to support.

It promotes a greener Singapore through the recycling of textbooks, encourages thrift and helps relieve the financial burden of families by providing them with free textbooks.

I have always been grateful that my children benefited from it.

However, it surprises me sometimes to meet familiesunder the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) whose children receive a brand new set of textbooks each year, even if the siblings are just a year or two apart in school.

And what did they do with their textbooks?

These are some typical responses:

  • The books were thrown away.
  • Part of the textbook, such as the maths textbook, was used as a workbook during lessons, so it is not suitable to donate.
  • The books are too heavy to take to the collection point at FairPrice, or it is too troublesome to do so.
  • Parents (especially the permanent residents or new citizens) are not aware of the Share-A-Textbook project.

This is sad. Schools teach children the 3Rs -Reduce, Reuse and Recycle - but do not show them how this can be put into practice.

All schools could rope in volunteers or the graduating Primary 6 pupils to do some community work - collect old textbooks before the school holidays and distribute them to these FAS families.

Schools can also arrange an end-of-year learning journey for the children by, for instance, taking them to the nearest FairPrice to donate their textbooks.

Doing this will help children learn about giving, empathy, thrift and sharing.

The whole objective of this project must be to teach children from a young age that it is our responsibility to save the earth and support this meaningful project.

This is especially so for those who receive brand new books every year. Schools must teach them not to take for granted the help given to them.

I hope the authorities will make an effort to impart to all in schools, including principals, teachers and pupils, the need to do their part to save the earth.

Lee Choon Keow (Mrs)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2016, with the headline 'Encourage children to share their textbooks'. Print Edition | Subscribe