As a uni student, I couldn’t even afford to buy used textbooks. Instead, I would borrow them from the library for 3 weeks, renew for another 3 weeks, then return them to do it all over again. The cost of textbooks can be a financial burden. I used to wonder why older students couldn’t just pass their textbooks down to younger students. “It’s not that easy,” people would say. Well now it is, at least for primary- and secondary-school textbooks. The FairPrice textbook sharing programme, now in its 35th year, has just gone digital. It is now an online platform and mobile app, making it super convenient and easy to donate and request books.
Donating Using the Platform
For donors, just snap, list, and share your pre-loved primary- and secondary-school textbooks. For recipients, browsing and requesting a specific book is a breeze. It’s all done on the newly launched FairPrice Share-A-Textbook Project online platform & mobile app.
With the mobile app, you can scan the textbook barcode, and it will automatically categorise your book according to subject and education level. It will also include a brief description. Donors and recipients are then able to connect directly with each other (by phone or email) and arrange for a meetup, giving this initiative a more human and “kampung” element.
Donating at Book-Drop Locations
If you would rather donate your books “offline”, you can do so by dropping them off at 30 selected FairPrice outlets from now until 3 Dec 2017 (please note the mobile platform does not have a period ending date). Please refer to this document for Book-Drop locations.
The donated books are then collected and sorted by volunteers. The 20,000 registered “priority students” get “first dibs” on the books. These are beneficiaries that MOE, social service organisations, various labour unions and Community Development Councils (CDCs) have shortlisted on a needs basis.
The books are then distributed to other students. Any remaining books will be recycled.
What Books can Be Donated
A person can donate any book in good condition that appears on the MOE Approved Textbooks List. To date, this annual initiative has redistributed over 4.7 million textbooks. That’s more than the resident population of Singapore (citizens & PRs). As a result, it has helped many, many families to ease the financial burden of education. And of course, it has also helped to reduced waste and promote environmental sustainability.
Who Can Be A Recipient?
Anyone can. The platform and app is open to everyone and free to use. You can even login using your Facebook and Instagram account. However, do note that the donor has the ability to reject your request, so be courteous. 🙂
For enquiries on the initiative, the public can call the FairPrice Share-A-Textbook hotline on 6888-1649 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The public is also encouraged to volunteer and help to sort and redistribute the books. You can sign up to volunteer on the FairPrice Share-A-Textbook platform or mobile app.