Chong Sin Woon wants to lighten schoolchildren's burden

KUCHING: Schoolchildren should not have schoolbags that are too heavy to carry, says Deputy Education Minister Chong Sin Woon.

"I do not want to see Year One children unable to carry their own schoolbags and have to pull them along," he said after a dinner function with schoolteachers and headmasters at Bau, Kuching, on Sunday.

Chong said this was a common problem, especially at Chinese vernacular schools.

The issue was raised when Chong was asked about an incident where a school headmaster allegedly caned a Year Three pupil in Selangor after he refused to buy a reference book.

Chong said no student should be forced to buy books not issued by the ministry.

However, he said schools had the autonomy to decide on the appropriate reference books for its students.

"Some of these reference books are actually good and can enhance a student's studies," he said, adding this was why a blanket ban on all reference books was not viable.

Chong said he had been monitoring the problem closely since being appointed as Deputy Education Minister last year and was determined to find a solution.

"There needs to be a discussion with schools and teachers. We need an all-encompassing solution to the problem," he said.

Chong was present at the dinner function to lend support for Tasik Biru (N2) Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Henry Harry Jinep.

Henry Harry will face a straight fight against DAP's Mordi Bimol in the Bidayuh-majority state seat.