400,000 used textbooks for low-income students through NTUC FairPrice project

 Mr Seah Kian Peng (right), CEO of NTUC FairPrice and Mr Chan Chun Sing, Secretary-General for NTUC and Minister for Prime Minister's Office at the launch of FairPrice's 33rd Share-A-Textbook Project on Nov 16, 2015.
Mr Seah Kian Peng (right), CEO of NTUC FairPrice and Mr Chan Chun Sing, Secretary-General for NTUC and Minister for Prime Minister's Office at the launch of FairPrice's 33rd Share-A-Textbook Project on Nov 16, 2015.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

SINGAPORE - About 20,000 students could get 400,000 used textbooks this year, as NTUC FairPrice on Monday (Nov 16) launched the 33rd edition of its annual Share-A-Textbook project.

Members of the public can contribute their used textbooks for the recycling project across 152 donation points islandwide from now until Dec 6.

Guest of honour NTUC secretary-general Chan Chun Sing said: "There are many families in Singapore who, despite our GDP and wealth, are trying very hard to cope with their living expenses. Such a simple gesture allows them to defray the cost of living. Each and every one of us has a part to play in making sure that we leave nobody behind."

FairPrice has collected more than 3.5 million used textbooks since 1983 - the equivalent of circling Singapore's coastline 5.4 times, if the books were laid out end to end - and aims to collect 400,000 books this year.

FairPrice has partnered with volunteer welfare organisations (VWOs) and Community Development Councils (CDCs) to shortlist the names of 20,000 primary and secondary students from low-income families, who will be given priority to collect the textbooks, before the general public is invited to take their pick.

In a survey of 600 parents commissioned by FairPrice earlier this year, almost nine in 10 said they felt there was no stigma in using pre-owned textbooks, and they would not feel embarrassed using them.

Some 400 volunteers from more than 170 supporting partners, including Gan Eng Seng School and Yio Chu Kang Secondary School, and FairPrice staff will help to collect, sort and distribute the books on Dec 13.

oliviaho@sph.com.sg