KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 — Parents are reportedly claiming that headmasters are forcing students to buy additional workbooks in return for commissions from publishers.
The Sunday Star reported the parents as complaining that the additional workbooks were adding to the physical burden that students already bear from carrying their textbooks daily.
One parent, identified as J. Andrew, alleged that he was informed by salesmen that school heads could earn as much as 30 per cent from the sale price of each workbook.
Another parent, who declined to be named, was quoted as saying he spent an estimated RM200 for workbooks alone each year.
“We have to buy workbooks even for a short two-week break,” the parent said.
The newspaper also quoted a former headmistress acknowledging the existence of such commissions, although she insisted these were considered “donations” from the publishers, which were then used for school and welfare activities.
She also suggested that the practice was more prevalent in Chinese vernacular schools, some of which she said restricted students to only buying the workbooks directly from the schools.
“And unlike in national schools where workbooks are bought at the start of the school, most Chinese school pupils do it four times in a year,” she was quoted saying.
The National Union of Head of Schools Malaysia rubbished the allegations, however, and insisted the practice was not widespread in schools.
“If at all there are such cases, they are isolated ones.
“Workbooks are chosen by school heads or the school’s subject panel heads, so not all schools use the same workbooks,” the union’s head, Wong Shee Fatt, was quoted as saying.