SCHOOLbooks can be twice as expensive, depending on which textbooks schools choose to use.
Textbooks in the same subject range from €17.95 with one publisher to €36 with another, the Oireachtas Education Committee was told yesterday.
Kerry TD Brendan Griffin cited a number of examples, including a geography book priced at €19.95 with one publisher, whereas a similar text book from a different company cost €34.95.
And he called on the Department of Education to introduce a system of approving books with a quality mark to help teachers select the most cost-effective options.
Department official Matt Ryan said decisions on which textbooks were used were made locally at school level but agreed Mr Griffin's proposal could be looked at.
The committee was discussing progress on curbing back-to-school costs for parents.
The department said that voluntary contributions at schools would not be banned, although draft legislation would prohibit fees being sought as a condition of enrolment.