Give pupils lockers

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 June, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 June, 1999, 12:00am

I refer to the report headlined, 'Weight list to help ease pupils' burden' (South China Morning Post, May 21), about the weighty issue of students' heavy school textbooks.

The key solution to this problem does not lie with the publishers using thinner paper, producing separate books to be used per term, or producing information by using different media such as CD-Roms.

There is only one realistic solution to this problem, other than banning textbooks, and that is to compel every school to provide reasonably sized lockers for every student.

Of course, the immediate cry of 'this will cost too much money' has just been uttered by school administrators reading this letter. Then the solution is to impose a tax levy on the purchase of every school textbook to be distributed directly and proportionally to each school solely for the purchase of lockers.

Measures against corruption would have to be implemented to ensure that schools then did not force pupils to buy an unreasonable number of textbooks in order to gain more funds and accounting procedures would have to show that funds were exclusively spent on providing lockers for each pupil.

This is a win-win solution. Publishers, parents and pupils would be ecstatic.

The publishers would see direct physical evidence in the schools resulting from the purchase of their books. Unfortunately this would not be an academic result. The pupils would be motivated then only to have to carry a few necessary books home on a daily basis for homework and revision.

If Fanny Law, the Director of Education, or any of her subordinates read this letter, it would be interesting to see what alternative measures the Education Department has for this problem. The inane policy of telling schools that they 'can also arrange a better timetable and avoid asking students to bring too much stuff to school on a day with lessons with too many heavy books' speaks 'volumes'.