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The next school year with more than 200 unsold 77 not printed booksellers: early "summer holiday" to extend the process (Ming Pao)

06/08/2022

[Ming Pao Newspaper] Less than a month before the start of the new school year, this newspaper checked the supply information of textbooks and related learning materials in the Appropriate Textbook List of the Education Bureau for the new school year. As of the 4th of this month, more than 200 primary and secondary school textbooks were not yet available for sale in bookstores, and among them, 77 had not yet been printed and distributed. The Professional Association of Educational Publishers and the Educational Booksellers Association said the early release of the "summer holiday" this year has delayed the end of the school year, affecting the ordering process, printing and sales arrangements for the new school year, and it is expected that there may be a small shortage of books at the beginning of the school year. Parents of primary school students returned to their schools yesterday to collect the textbooks they had ordered, and 12 of the 30 Primary Six textbooks were still unavailable.


EDB: Epidemic and logistics

 

The Education Bureau (EDB) replied to enquiries that schools have basically completed the process of selecting textbooks for the new school year, but the supply of textbooks is affected by the recurring epidemic and logistics. Parents are advised to visit the EDB's "Textbook Information" website or hotline, or make enquiries with publishers directly before purchasing textbooks. The Bureau also said that in previous years, some publishers or textbooks were in short supply or delayed in delivery. If some textbooks could not be delivered to schools at the beginning of the school year, the publishers would make temporary arrangements, such as providing electronic or printed versions of individual chapters, so as to avoid affecting the progress of learning, and parents were advised not to worry.

 

According to the information on the supply of textbooks and related learning materials in the "Recommended Textbook List" for the new school year, 77 primary and secondary school textbooks have not yet been printed, including the textbooks of the General Studies subject of Primary 1 to Primary 3 in the Ling Kee's "General Knowledge for Living Learning", the textbooks of the Chinese Language subject of Secondary 1 to Secondary 3 in the "New Chinese Language", and the textbooks of the second semester of Primary 1 to Primary 6 of the Education Publishing House's "I Love to Learn Languages (Second Edition)". In addition, 115 junior secondary school textbooks are not yet available for sale, of which geography accounts for nearly 40. The five elective modules of the "Living Geography for Junior Secondary Schools" by Oxford University Press (China) are expected to be available for bookstores only in late August, while "Interactive Geography E5: Diseases from a Geographic Perspective - Facing a Spreading Crisis" by Elegance is not yet available for printing (see table).

Publishing sector urges to rest assured that "the books will definitely be available".

 

This year, the government has arranged for schools to take their summer holidays in March earlier than scheduled. Shek Kwok-kee, director of the Tutor Publishing House, said the publisher would not send books to schools until classes resumed in May, and that 80% of the schools would only decide on the books to be used in early July, which was later than May in the past, and this would affect the printing process, coupled with the fact that a number of book publishers had set up factories in the Mainland, which had once been closed down due to the epidemic, and that customs problems had affected the transport of the books, and that a shortage of books was expected to be prevalent this year. He also said that there would be changes in the curriculum of many subjects in the next school year, including Chinese History, History, Mathematics and Chinese Language, and textbooks would need to be reprinted. It is expected that the supply of textbooks for secondary schools would be relatively tight, and some of them may not be available until October. He appealed to parents not to worry as "books will definitely be available".

 

Mr Ng Chi-wah, president of the Professional Association of Educational Publishers, said that the industry had asked printers to speed up their work and liaise and negotiate with schools to print the books needed in September earlier, so it was expected that "the books for the first semester would definitely be available in September, while those for the second semester might be available later".

 

Mui Chi-yip, School Principal of CNEC Lau Wing Sang Secondary School, said that the school would distribute the books later this month and had not received any notification from the book publisher of the need to extend the period. He said that if the books were not available at the start of the school year, teachers would use e-books or homemade teaching materials.