Liberal studies book revisions 'too costly'

Liberal studies book revisions 'too costly'

Consumer Council criticises publishers that use current events as an excuse to keep updating

Constantly updating content in liberal studies textbooks is an excuse to make parents pay for new editions, says a consumer watchdog.

Michael Hui King-man, chairman of the Consumer Council's publicity and community relations committee, says: "Publishers should leave such topics out of their books. Current affairs change too fast."

Liberal studies became compulsory for older secondary school students in 2009. It is taught to develop critical thinking skills. But the Education Bureau does not include books on the subject in its recommended textbook list. So regulations that prevent revisions within five years of the current edition don't apply, and publishers update the textbooks often. The bureau said that, in general, books should not be the primary teaching resource for liberal studies.

"If incorporating current affairs into a textbook can help [teach] a concept, it certainly deserves merit," council chief executive Gilly Wong Fung-han said.

"But using the need to update current affairs as an excuse to make parents buy new textbooks at higher costs is not right."

Professional Teachers' Union president Fung Wai-wah said: "For fast-changing aspects, such as government data or policies, the publisher may want to consider referring to external sources such as government websites to avoid obsolete figures in print." We at Young Post advise reading, too, to keep up with what's happening around you.

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