By R.S.N Murali
KUALA TERENGGANU: A group of pupils from a primary school in Gong Badak here have been caught misusing electronic textbooks (e-books) to download and store pornographic material.
They would access such materials, store them at home and bring them to school where the group would view them together.
Twelve pupils from Year Five and Six were caught in possession of smut videos and pictures during a spot check by the school's disciplinary teachers and prefects.
It is learnt the school will expel the pupils for violating the guidelines of the e-book scheme and for having lewd materials.
The e-books, a replacement for heavy schoolbags, were incorporated with standard and additional primary syllabuses.
Terengganu was the first state in the country to introduce the scheme in June.
Besides pornography, the pupils also used the e-books to access YouTube and download photographs of actresses.
State Education, Higher Learning, Science, Technology and Human Resource Committee chairman Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman acknowledged that the pupils were caught with such materials, but declined to name the school.
The state government has issued a directive to schools to initiate disciplinary action against those found to have violated the guidelines.
"We consider it a serious offence to download indecent materials and it is now up to the school authorities to initiate appropriate action, including expelling them," he said yesterday.
He said those caught blamed their elder siblings for downloading the smut but the excuse was unacceptable as the laptops were entrusted to the pupils.
He said some of the schools in the state had also begun to ensure that their pupils refrain from browsing undesirable websites by making their parents stand as sureties.
With this, the school authorities can seize the e-books, seek compensation and initiate severe disciplinary action if the children are found to have defied the guidelines, he added.