End ‘heavy bag phenomenon’, deputy minister tells Chinese schools
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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 — Chinese vernacular schools must stop the practice of making primary students buy supplementary texts and workbooks, said Datuk Chong Sin Woon.
The deputy education minister reminded the schools of a ministry circular in 2000 that made it punishable to force students to use the additional study books.
“They (students) are not encouraged to use workbooks at the beginning of the school year.
“Those are additional exercises for students to practise with only after they have been taught the syllabus set by the ministry,” he was quoted as saying in The Star.
Saying that textbooks and workbooks provided by the ministry were sufficient, Chong explained that Primary One to Three pupils should not even use workbooks.
He said students in Primary Four to Six should also use them only for core subjects such as Mathematics, Science and Chinese or Tamil.
“We have received complaints from parents saying they paid up to hundreds of ringgit just for workbooks,” he was quoted as saying.
According to Chong, some Chinese schools had five external workbooks for Chinese, seven for English, five Malay and five for Science.
“The selection of additional workbooks is done by the respective subject heads.
“The teacher has the duty to suggest workbooks that are most suitable and consistent with the prepared syllabus by us (ministry),” he said, but adding that the onus was on the parents to decide on making the purchases.