When the Education Ministry enforced the ban on additional workbooks last year, there was a sigh of relief among parents.

I HAVE two children in a Chinese primary school.

For the past three years,
we have been bombarded by flyers asking for all manner of things.

When the Education Ministry enforced the ban on additional workbooks last year, there was a sigh of relief among parents.

Otherwise, parents would have had to pay more to buy workbooks for their children.

However, one week into the school year, parents continue to get flyers, list of magazines, notice of extracurricular activities and requests from schools and parent-teacher associations asking for donations, contributions and fees.

Firstly, there is a long list of magazines from Pustaka Kuala Lumpur that children can subscribe to.

I want to know what vested interest the school has in circulating the flyer on behalf of the vendor in classrooms?

Why waste teachers’ time by making them collect cheques on behalf of vendors?

Does the ministry allow vendors into schools?

On the list, a magazine was identified by teachers of at least two classes in Year One.

In one class, the teacher told the children to write “must buy”. In another class, the children were told to circle the magazine in red and asked to make the payment the next day.

This shows that there was an instruction from above.

In another case, parents were asked to pay RM8 as a donation to the PTA for making name tags.

In the past, parents, like me, paid without asking questions. Now, many of us are asking questions.

I have no problem in parting with RM8 if it is accounted for and used for the children.

For example, the PTA can use the money collected to meet the cost of additional tuition for children who are weak in certain subjects.

Or it can provide breakfast for children of single mothers.

However, the latest trend is to buy expensive brass band equipment benefiting only a handful of pupils, building sports arena, buying eco smart boards that, despite the availability of e-textbooks, fail to reduce the need for children to carry textbooks to schools.

It is time the ministry put
a stop to this in Chinese primary schools, otherwise this disease will spread to national schools.

Based on the feedback I received, this is happening in some national schools.

I urge the ministry to set up a task force to monitor this.

The ministry should ask the auditor-general to audit schools with big funds to improve the checks and balances of PTAs and schools’ board of governors.

Stephen Ng

Petaling Jaya, Selangor

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