SCHOOL textbooks form an essential basis for teaching, allowing the teacher scope to add to the information given in them. But the choice of textbooks can have a considerable influence on pupils' young minds.
Only French, Austrian, and Spanish teachers are free to make their own choice of textbooks. In the other European countries, teachers must either obtain their school's approval of their choices of textbooks or choose from a number of books prescribed by their education ministries, as in Germany, Switzerland, and Turkey. In some countries, such as the United States and Greece, public authorities select the books.
In most countries, textbooks are free. But in France, Mexico, and Switzerland, parents have to make a contribution to their cost at the secondary level, and Spanish, Turkish, and Portuguese parents have to pay for their children's school books in full.
Virtually everywhere, strong competition among publishing houses helps guarantee both the quality and the regular updating of textbooks.