Parents face bigger textbook bill
Parents of senior secondary one pupils under the new education structure have to pay more for textbooks, the Consumer Council says.
The watchdog collected data from 49 primary and 41 secondary schools for its annual survey. The average textbook expenditure for a first-year senior secondary pupil was HK$2,453, an increase of 3.1 per cent on last year.
An increase in the number of books on the list could have contributed to the rising costs. Under the new curriculum, pupils have more choice in their electives and more books to choose from, the council said. In some subjects, teachers are using more books. The survey also revealed a big difference between the highest textbook expenditure and the lowest. In some schools, pupils need to spend HK$4,040 for 32 textbooks in the nine subjects they take. One school provided the material for seven subjects, so pupils needed to spend only HK$1,037 for four textbooks.
As for the new subject of liberal studies, only half the schools required pupils to buy textbooks.
The council urged schools to prepare more of their own material to lessen the burden on parents.
Ruth Lee Shek Yuk-yu, vice-chairwoman of the Association of Heads of Secondary Schools, said schools faced problems with copyright and quality issues when reproducing material. 'Most schools are willing to make their own materials if they can,' she said, adding teachers were making their own material for liberal studies.
The Education Bureau said it did not encourage the use of textbooks for liberal studies. The Student Financial Assistance Agency helps parents who are struggling buy textbooks.