Education officials are seeking approval for upper-secondary students to keep the textbooks lent to them under the Borrowing Textbooks to Study project.
Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) secretary-general Chinnaphat Phumrat yesterday said the office was preparing to ask the Education Ministry to allow Mathayom Suksa 4-6 (Grade 10-12) students to keep the textbooks so they could study for their entrance exams.
Students normally have to return the books after they complete their studies.
The office has surveyed 942 students and parents, and most supported the idea, Mr Chinnaphat said.
The office has come up with two options for the textbook handouts.
The first calls for Mathayom 4-6 students to be allowed to keep the school textbooks of all subjects. About 400 million baht would be needed to adopt this plan.
The second option would allow only Mathayom 6 students to keep the textbooks to study for their university entrance exams. About 100 million baht would be needed for this second option, Mr Chinnaphat said.
He said the office would have to delve into its own funds to finance either option.
The Democrat-led coalition government last year made education free for all students for 15 years and distributed textbooks to students at all levels under the Borrowing Textbooks to Study project.
Mr Chinnaphat said about 3.8 billion baht had been spent buying textbooks for the scheme.
About 3.6 million students had borrowed textbooks at the primary school level last year, but nearly a third of those returned to the Obec were damaged.
At the lower secondary level, 2.4 million students had borrowed textbooks and 21% of those returned were damaged.
At the upper secondary level, 1.1 million students had been loaned and more than 20% were returned in poor condition.
Textbooks for core subjects such as maths, Thai language and English language were badly damaged, Mr Chinnaphat said.
The commission found that the poor quality of the paper was a problem and this had led to textbooks being easily damaged. Most textbooks were made from newsprint which is thin and easily torn.