THOUSANDS of parents will be forced to pay for their child’s textbooks after the government slashed its education budget by €1 billion.
The cuts mean around 500,000 pupils will no longer be eligible for state aid to buy essential reading material, according to figures released by the education ministry.
Official statistics show there are eight million students attending classes this year, representing a 1.7% increase on the previous school year.
However, this year’s budget of €50.4 billion is €1.1 billion less than last year – and €2.1 billion less than in 2010.
The ministry insists 15,000 more students will receive grants this year despite the budget for such payments being cut by €185 million compared to the 2011-2012 academic year.
“The only explanation for this is that the average grant amount will be lower so that they can be spread out to more students,” said Juan Martinez, from the trade union CCOO.