Children are increasingly burdened by the pressure to succeed in school and become better than their peers. This leads to more studying and as such, more workbooks.
This then begs the question how much workbook is too much?
In order to ensure that their children are equipped with study resources, parents tend to buy as many workbooks as they can.
The rationale behind this thinking is: The more books you buy, the more they learn. Sadly, that is not the case and the children end up going to school saddled with too many workbooks that more often go unused.
Stephen Ng, a parent whose child goes to a Chinese school in Bandar Utama says that the amount of books a child has to take to school is excessive.
“Eight Chinese workbooks, four Bahasa Malaysia workbooks, three English workbooks, two workbooks each for Mathematics, Science and Computer, and another book on Safety, this is the amount of books my child takes to school on any given day, it is too excessive,” he said.
It is against education ministry protocol for schools to be asking students to buy more workbooks said Persatuan Jaringan Ibubapa Pencinta Pendidikan Bahasa Zhong Hua (Jiazhong) adviser Edward Neoh. He has also been fighting this issue with schools.
“The government circular released nationwide to all schools states that only textbooks stipulated by the ministry are allowed to be used in teaching,” he said.
“Parents feel that if they don’t buy more workbooks for their children then they will lose out and teachers are promoting these workbooks from independent publishers,” he said, adding that these workbooks mostly go unused and because of the amount of workbooks, teachers do not have time to mark them.
The circular states: “The use of workbooks and training books by local publishing companies is widespread amongst schools and parents. The Education Ministry views this as an unhealthy practice because it will disregard textbooks as the source of learning for children. Schools are required to follow the guidelines set with regards to the use of workbooks.”
Some parents feel that it is not fair to shell out large amounts of money for workbooks that are not compulsory. Despite that, they still purchase them so their children do not feel left out.