JPK says no textbook shortage

National 2 minutes, 12 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

Textbooks for the 2015 school term are now available at book vendors across the country, alleviating concerns over shortages, which have occurred in previous years.

The books are also being sold at the Curriculum Development Department (JPK) Bookstore at the Ministry of Education’s (MoE) new building in Berakas.

They include new Mathematics workbooks for Year 1 to Year 2 primary schoolchildren jointly published by the JPK and Marshall Cavendish International (Singapore) Private Limited.

Stocks of these books will be constantly monitored, and the bookshop will inform customers on the availability of basic textbooks and workbooks.

Touching on book shortages, JPK senior officer Hjh Norsah Hj Musa said December is usually the month when demand for school books booms, but they have received fewer complaints over book shortages so far this year.

She said this may be due to the constant crosschecking and communication with school book suppliers and distributors.

Last year, the JPK said in a press conference that meetings had been held with publishers from Singapore and local suppliers.

Hjh Norsah told The Brunei Times that the JPK held similar meetings on November 5 this year.

“It has increased the understanding between us, our and their roles, and kept us on the same page. The reason why crosschecking works is because we keep stricter tabs now on every book’s supply and (react) whenever a shortage is foreseen,” she said.

She said they worked as a networking centre, acting as a bridge between the book publishers, distributors and consumers.

“For example, we monitor the stock of a particular book that is falling, or (if we) get a complaint of an unavailable book at a vendor, then we contact the vendor (to find out) how much they have in stock.

“To ensure the books get to (the vendors), we call the publishers to make sure they are delivered and call the vendors to confirm the restocked books.”

Even at JPK Bookstore, she said they crosscheck the books and use the social media application WhatsApp to immediately inform other JPK officers so they can address any shortages.

Hjh Norsah also confirmed that demand for school books was higher from government schools than private ones.

She admitted that it wasn’t easy to determine the quantity needed by a school every year, as its student population varies.

At the Legislative Council session this year, Education Minister YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar Hj Apong said part of the MoE’s fiscal-year budget was allocated for tackling textbook shortages.

He said the JPK would strive for greater efficiency in resolving the problem.

The Brunei Times