The Education Ministry on Sunday announced it will expand its book-lending program nationwide to save students hundreds of shekels a year.

According to a press release issued by the ministry on Sunday, the system will incorporate the lending of textbooks to students, negating the need for them to be purchased outright. The program will have to be approved in each school by a vote to be held by the parents of schoolchildren.

Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud) said that the program will save parents hundreds of shekels per student each year and that it is in parents’ best interests to have it go into effect this fall. Sa’ar also plans to put forward a law during the Knesset’s upcoming session that will make the textbooks program law.

The ministry’s statement added that the program will include control and enforcement guidelines for the use of textbooks in schools.

Under the plan, which is already being used in hundreds of schools across the country, parents will pay a yearly fee of up to NIS 280 in primary schools and NIS 320 in post-primary schools. The schools will use the funds to purchase books which will be handed out at the beginning of the year, according to the Education Ministry. At the end of the year, students will leave those books for the class below.

The Education Ministry will budget NIS 100 million to schools for the sake of purchasing books and will also invest NIS 20 million annually for the operations of the program.

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