PETALING JAYA: National Union of Head of Schools Malaysia president Wong Shee Fatt has dispelled allegations that some headmasters would ask for or accept commissions from workbook publishers.
“If at all there are such cases, they are isolated ones,” he said.
He said schools must follow the Education Ministry’s workbook circular and guidelines.
“Workbooks are chosen by school heads or the school’s subject panel heads, so not all schools use the same workbooks,” he explained.
He stressed that all union members were ethical in their practices.
As for the Malaysian Book Publishers Association, it acknowledged that there were some black sheep in the industry.
Saying that he had heard of cases about headmasters and publishers “collaborating” in selling workbooks, association president Ishak Hamzah said: “I’ve heard that some schools ask for commission.”
“Some irresponsible people try to get ahead of others by giving incentives.”
However, he claimed that publishers were not the only culprits.
“Others like booksellers, bookshops, salesmen and agents would also go to schools.”
National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan said schools should abide by the ministry’s workbook circular.
In 2000 and 2004, the ministry instructed schools to discontinue workbooks for Year One and Two.
Year Three and older pupils are limited to one additional workbook each for Bahasa Melayu, English, Chinese, Mathematics and Science.
“If the ministry can enforce the circular strictly, we can solve the problem. Any headmaster caught flouting the circular for whatever reason must be given a showcause letter.”
Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon warned that those who accepted kickbacks would face disciplinary action.
“If convicted, the headmaster or teacher can be dismissed.”
Chong, who got wind of such a practice back in 2015, said he was looking into the issue.
All district education officers had been told to keep their ears to the ground, he said.
“But it’s hard to get proof without cooperation from stakeholders.
“We need teachers, headmasters and parents with evidence to come forward. If it’s really happening, we want it stopped.”
Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) chairman Mak Chee Kin said the ministry must look into these claims.