The discussion, which took place today in plenary session in parliament, started from a petition with more than 11 signatures which led to the presentation of three bills with the same objective: that all pupils have access to free textbooks.
"The government discriminates against students and families for the exercise of their freedom of choice", began by saying Sónia Ramos, of the PSD, stressing that this benefits students in public schools, while harming those who opt for the private education.
In the presentation of the Social Democratic initiative, Sónia Ramos defended that "the State must be neutral and impartial", but on the contrary, the PS "arrogates itself as being the best educator" and assumes education as a mechanism ideological.
The accusation of ideological bias was also heard by the Liberal Initiative's parliamentary bench, with Carla Castro declaring that the state should not discriminate against students by the educational institution they attend and felt that free textbooks only for public school students is "another negative step" against families' freedom of choice and the quality of education.
On Chega's part, Gabriel Mithá Ribeiro said that the left "uses the state as a weapon of war against the autonomy of society", an argument from which he began to accuse the government of indoctrination by " an isolated policy of textbooks”, without directly mentioning, in his speech, the policy of freedom under discussion, which earned him a warning from the President of the Assembly of the Republic.
"Today he talked about everything except free textbooks," said Augusto Santos Silva, saying that the deputy's "conspicuous departure from the subject of the debate" disrespects the petitioners.
On the left of the Chamber, the parties were more or less consensual. From the outset, the PS rejected arguments that guaranteeing free textbooks only to students in public schools discriminates against private students or undermines freedom of choice.
"The State does not put obstacles in the free choice of families, nor does it create constraints in the access to public school", declared Palmira Maciel, adding that its role is to guarantee the free and universal character of compulsory education, through the public sector. .
Joana Mortágua, from the Bloco de Esquerda, also spoke along the same lines, stating that the State "does not have to finance all the companies and enterprises in education" and that "if a family understands that their child does not have to not go to public school which receives everyone and must sign a contract with the private sector, subject to the rules of the market".
As the bloquista deputy, Rui Tavares, of Livre, also pointed out that educational institutions in the private and cooperative sectors can choose to offer the books.
For the PCP, Alfredo Maia recalled the party's previous proposals for free support books, failed by the PS with the votes against the Liberal Initiative and the abstentions of Chega and the PSD, evoking that "they are the same people who claim now free”. textbooks for private schools.
The PAN was the only one to approach the promoters. Inês de Sousa Real pointed out that there are also families in need who, for whatever reason, opt for private education, but do not have free textbooks and also considered that the measure can have a "character environmentally significant”, due to the reuse of books.
At the end of the debate, Sónia Ramos also added that "the PS does not control the choices of families", which must be respected and supported by the State.
MYCA // ZO
Lusa / End