School textbooks enough

On the hunt: Suziela Ismail, 36 (left) and daughter Hanis Hisham, 17, looking for some textbooks to buy at a bookshop in Kajang. — Samuel Ong/The Star

SCHOOL textbooks are available in major bookstores nationwide, the Education Ministry said.

Checks by the ministry showed that there is sufficient stock in the market, its Educational Resource and Technology Division director Maznah Abu Bakar told StarEdu.“We have been monitoring the availability of textbooks and found that they are available in major bookstores.

“All publishers are required to provide a certain number of textbooks for sale for students’ use, ” she added.

But despite the ministry’s assurance, Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin insists that supply is still a problem.

Books under the ministry’s Skim Pinjaman Buku Teks (SPBT) that are used in schools, he said, are now being sold openly to overcome the shortage.

“This is only a temporary stop-gap measure. It does not solve the problem.

“Every year, learning is disrupted as parents complain about how difficult it is to get textbooks in time for school reopening.

“When SPBT textbooks are available for sale in the market, it shows that publishers do not have enough stock to meet demands.

“Parents are inconvenienced because they have to frantically hunt for textbooks from one bookstore to another, ” he said.

On Feb 2, The Star highlighted the lack of school textbooks being sold in bookshops on its front page.

Parents were frustrated as their children were facing difficulty in following lessons.

The Covid-19 movement control order had resulted in shipping delays, publishers said.

To address the shortage, the Malaysian Book Publishers Association (Mapoba), Malaysian Booksellers Association (MBA) and Shopee consolidated all textbooks and workbooks being offered under a single “Kedai Buku Shopee” to make it easier for parents to source for the learning materials. – By SANDHYA MENON

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