Suspension of the reuse of school manuals demonstrates how sustainability has not yet entered the political agenda.
The decision taken by the Assembly of the Republic, within the scope of the 2020 supplementary budget to prevent the reuse of school textbooks in the 2020/2021 school year, regardless of the associated costs, is a bad decision from an environmental and sustainability point of view. It will imply (roughly):
- Felling plus 92500 trees, corresponding to an area of approximately 92 hectares.
- The emission plus 1500 tons of CO2.
- The cost plus 130 million liters of water.
ZERO considers that this decision-making demonstrates that political parties (and several other stakeholders involved in the debate), when faced with a problem, have a clear tendency not to consider the aspects of sustainability and to proceed with decisions with total disregard for the impacts that will have in environmental terms.
This attitude is even more negative, when there was not even an attempt to debate alternatives, which exist, to this halt in a process that had finally put Portugal, after decades of gigantic waste of natural resources and very significant expenses for families, in the path of others EU countries where reuse has long been practiced.
Not questioning that there are apprenticeships for the current academic year that have not been completed and which will need to be reinforced at the beginning of next year, there are viable alternatives to consolidate them without jeopardizing the reuse of school textbooks, namely:
- Maintain the delivery of the manuals for reuse at least in the cycle change years and in the 12th year;
- Leave it to the schools to decide whether or not to reuse textbooks in other years, because there are certainly disciplines in which textbook retention is not justified and others in which this may happen;
- Maintain the delivery of manuals for reuse, guaranteeing schools some extra manuals depending on the needs for work in the classroom;
- Maintain the delivery of manuals for reuse by all students who may have access to digital resources (which must be provided by the Ministry) and allow only students who do not have access to these resources to maintain the manuals.