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Kildare Young Scientists highlight the need for eSchoolbooks

10th January 2012

Fine Gael TD for Kildare North, Anthony Lawlor, has called for renewed efforts to introduce ebooks for children in our schools. Currently students from St. Wolstan’s Community School, Celbridge are displaying their project at the BT Young Scientist Awards which looks at the affects of heavy school bags on young children’s backs. Their results reinforce the need to deal effectively with this problem through innovations in our technologically advanced society.

“I was delighted to learn last year that Piper’s Hill School in Naas was introducing a scheme for all incoming First Years which would see students accessing school books through iPads. I appreciate that the initial start up cost was difficult for some parents but the long term benefits of teaching in this manner far outweighs the downsides. Instead of children carrying heavy school bags on their backs all books are now condensed into one light, electronic device. I was also fascinated to learn of an online teaching tool for teachers and students called Schoolbag.ie, used in many schools throughout the country, whereby all lessons can be completed and corrected through a dedicated, personalised website page for each student.

“Despite such useful tools being available to our schools many obstacles stand in the way of widespread implementation. One in particular which I have been dealing with is the 23% VAT rate on ebooks in comparison to zero percent on printed school books. This obstacle is as a result of EU law and I have made representations to both Finance Minister Michael Noonan and MEP Mairead McGuinness to have the matter addressed. A lower VAT rate will benefit both students and school book providers.

“The three students from St. Wolstan’s Community School, Lorraine Burke, Aisling Grind and Corrie Bowes, have highlighted through the BT Young Scientist Competition an important issue that could improve the physical health of students. This could be achieved by embracing new technologies such as ebooks and Schoolbag.ie and I am committed to promoting such innovations”.