The review comes after more than 15 years of the program, but the the Department of Education said it is now seeking to address a range of issues relating to book distribution policies, record-keeping and inventory, student accountability, budgetary support, care for and longevity of books, and the need for streamlining across schools. The program is known as the Student Education Learning Fund, (SELF).
In undertaking a comprehensive analysis of the operation of the SELF book program, some of the problems faced include; schools adapting to disparate policies for textbook distribution and management, proper record-keeping has lapsed at several schools, there is not enough accountability with respect to accessing and returning textbooks, there are increased budgetary requirements as a consequence of the increasing costs of texts books and books quickly fall into a state of disrepair.
In response, the Department of Education is proposing to conduct the following that will be instituted by September 2012:
• establish a committee to identify, select and streamline texts to be used by all schools
• introduce regular stock-taking of the SELF book program
• create a comprehensive database to assist in the management of the program
• Consider the introduction of a maintenance contribution from students to ensure longevity of the texts and their replacement.
Over the years the program has been a source of financial relief for many low income and even middle income families who have been struggling to meet the high costs of education, especially text books.