KSSR vs. KBSR Confusion when buying workbooks


This year, 2012, I have a child in Std 2 doing the KSSR syllabus and a Std 4 child doing the KBSR syllabus.

So what is KSSR? What does KSSR stand for? I am sure that most parents in Malaysia know that kids start the new KSSR syllabus in 2012 but just what does KSSR stand for? Now, that’s simple. KSSR stands for Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah.

What about the older KBSR then? What does KBSR stand for? Now, that one is easy too. KBSR stands for Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Rendah.

Now that we’ve got the easy part of the way, deriving the abbreviation for KSSR and KBSR, lets talk about the hard part.

The hard part is faced by parents whose children are doing the new KSSR new syllabus. Parents whose kids are doing the KBSR syllabus can skip this post. Let me give you an example.

I have children doing both the syllabus. My standard 2 child cannot recycle or reuse his sister’s books because the syllabus has changed for almost every subject, English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, Maths and Science. For example in Math, he is now taught Fractions in Std 1 and Fractions and Decimals in Std 2. Previously, it was not taught till Std 3. So if you buy the old KBSR workbooks you would have missed out two whole chapters. This is only an example of one confusion that can arise.

Worse still, the book publishers and printers are in a bind. How do they get rid of their old KBSR stocks? What’s happening is, when I went to the bookshops, I had trouble finding Std 2 workbooks or rather very few Std 2 KSSR workbooks. Std 1 is ok since there is new print for this year but not Std 2. For almost every publisher, I could find Std 1 then Std 3, 4, 5,6  but not Std 2. I had trouble finding KSSR books for Std 2, probably they will be available later on.

Then there are unscrupulous publishers who change the name of the cover to KSSR! Well, at least that is what I think because I had bought a KSSR book but when I looked inside the syllabus was the same as the old one. So before you go out to buy any workbooks for your child, make sure you look at his textbook to know his syllabus first, then make sure it matches those of the workbooks. Don’t buy blindly. Do some homework first.

Here is my tips for parents when buying primary school workbooks:

  1. Std 1 and Std 2 parents buy books with KSSR on the cover
  2. However, make sure you check your child’s textbook before buying. Make sure that the syllabus in the workbook matches the syllabus in the textbook
  3. You will need to buy KSSR for the 5 core subjects, i.e. the 3 languages English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, plus Maths and Science
  4. However, you may get KBSR books for the paper 2 for English, Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese. Paper 2 meaning the Writing Practise Paper as this do not change very much. (Paper 1 is Comprehension or Pemahaman, Paper 2 is Writing or Penulisan) Note: In Std 1 and 2, there is no Paper 2 test for English, however workbooks are available for practise. There is Paper 2 test for Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Cina or Chinese though)
  5. If your child is in Chinese School, go to the SJKC section to pick books. What does SJKC stand for? (SJKC stands for Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina). As for those in National Schools, buy your workbooks from the SJK section (SJK stands for Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan). They syllabus for both are different.

So many acronyms and abbreviations to learn. Parenting is hard enough without all this headache.

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7 thoughts on “KSSR vs. KBSR Confusion when buying workbooks

  1. Normally I will check the Table of Contents before purchase. I prefer the one that same with their textbook’s Table of Contents.

    Since last year I have had difficulty in finding the Standard 2 workbooks. Some of the publishers don’t want to print more since it is the last year of KBSR syllabus.

    This year I tried to find the workbooks earlier, but still can’t manage to get some of them.

    I am still blur with the new KSSR. Hopefully when my girl goes to P1, I will get to know more.

  2. Thanks for the sharing. My girl is going to Primary One next year, so I should only be looking at the SJKC section and search for KSSR books. Thanks again.

  3. I have a Primary 3 boy doing SJK(C) and when I go to the book store imagine my confusions with all the many many types of books. I think we are overboard about syllabus after all, education is learning and whether its SK, SJK, KSSR, KBSR, Primary 3 is Primary 3 same in everywhere, and whether the kid start fractions now or later is not relevant.
    The only difference is the Language, whether it’s in Tamil, English, Chinese or Malay. Kids only need to study the important few languages, while the rest like maths, science are same. My take is not to be over concerned about syallabus.

    Its hard not to be concerned when you are coaching them at home. Naturally the syllabus you use at home should match the one being taught at school.

  4. Hi all, when u wanna buy the KSSR Y2 workbook, make sure that the content / syallabus is the same with those in the textbook coz some publishers the just change the cover n the content is still based on the KBSR syllabus.

    That is true. I experienced the same.

  5. I m one of the teachers who teach English in SJKC.
    It’s true for the publishers who want to earn more money as most of the parents will buy workbooks for their children once open school.
    But the contents of KSSR for the 3 languages are just focus on pronunciation of the words. The KSSR pupils mostly don’t know how to use the words. They even don’t know how to make a simple sentence.

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