PUTRAJAYA: The Education Ministry has ordered Chinese medium schools to cease conducting computer classes during school hours as it contravenes several laws contained under the Education Act 1996 (Act 550). Its minister Dr Maszlee Malik said computer classes fall under extracurricular activities and should only be conducted after school hours. "The school hours which are set under the ministry circular is meant to include the national syllabus only and nothing else. "Any support letter which was issued by the former deputy Education Minister to allow several schools to conduct computer classes during school hours before this will automatically be null and void," he told reporters at the Higher Education Ministry building, here, today. He added that students will no longer be subjected to attend computer classes with future student participation made optional. His response came following complaints by parents that their children were being made to enrol in computer classes during school hours by several Chinese medium schools in the Klang Valley. On another matter, the Education Ministry has decided to offer additional seats for pre-university matriculation programmes to 1,000 poor ethnic Chinese students who score straight As. Maszlee said over 800 seats have already been taken up from the additional allocation meant for the students from the bottom 40 (B40) category. "The offer for additional seats is open to non-Bumiputera students from low-income families for the session of 2018/2019. "I assure you that Bumiputera seats and placement is not affected a result. While the additional 700 seats for the ethnic Indians announced by the previous government has been maintained and executed this year," he said, prior to presenting matriculation offer letters to three SPM students at the ministry. He stressed that the Pakatan Harapan government will stand by its pledge to aid all students irrespective of race and taking into account their financial background. "The matriculation programme will enable these students to pursue their studies in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics," he said. In the meantime, the Education Ministry will also issue a circular by January, next year with guidelines on how to reduce the weight of students' school bags. Following a study was conducted on the bags of primary school students in 2017 in both urban and rural areas, Maszlee said it revealed that textbooks only constitute 28% of total bag weight, with the remainder 72% consisting of stationery, uniforms and food, among others. "Students are advised to adhere to the schedule which informs them of what study material they should bring to school on that day," he said adding that the circular's recommendations is meant for pupils, teachers, parents or guardians and schools. He added that teachers will be issued a broadcast letter which will provide clear instructions on what books are to be brought for lessons during that particular school day, as well as teaching and learning activities.