KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — Parents in several states including Selangor, Melaka and Negri Sembilan are unable to find textbooks for the new school year, causing concern that this could further hamper their children’s education disrupted by Covid-19.
According to The Star, Amanda Tan, a parent from Selangor, said textbooks for her 12-year-old son could not be found either online or at physical stores, adding that the 10km travel restriction during the movement control order (MCO) exacerbated her search.
Another parent, identified only as Ahmad, reportedly said that he had travelled from Negri Sembilan to Melaka looking for textbooks, but was told by vendors that they did not have stock.
“Even if they did, they won’t have the whole set of books my daughter needs.
“It’s been very tough and I don’t know why. Some bookshops could not even give us an answer,” he was quoted as saying.
Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin verified the parents’ information, adding that many have resorted to photocopying the textbooks.
The Malaysian Book Publishers Association (Mapoba) told The Star that the problem may be caused by distribution delays due to restrictions under the MCO.
Mapoba honorary secretary Sheikh Faisal Sheikh Mansor reportedly said the textbooks were available at major textbook publishers, but “there may be uneven distribution at the retailers due to difficulties caused by the pandemic”.
He also reportedly said that panic buying at the beginning of the MCO may have intensified the issue.
The new school year is set to commence on January 20, with online learning prescribed to all students except those who are facing major examinations such as the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM)
Students facing major exams will be allowed to attend school for face-to face learning sessions.
The Education Ministry has reiterated that it will give parents at least two weeks’ notice before resuming physical lessons at schools, which remain closed as part of the MCO.