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  • Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says school administrators should not overburden parents by asking them to purchase textbooks that will not be used during the school term.
  • Several parents reported they are being asked to spend thousands of dollars on books “that have not been opened once” during the term.
  • The Minister, in the meantime, encouraged Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) to implement a welfare assistance fund, which would provide support for students with financial needs.

Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says school administrators should not overburden parents by asking them to purchase textbooks that will not be used during the school term.

“Certainly this year we will be making a list, which will be monitored carefully. We will be asking our school administrators to be very judicious in ensuring that we don’t ask parents to purchase books that are not going to be used,” he said.

The Minister was responding to concerns raised at the Annual General Meeting of the National Parent-Teacher Association of Jamaica (NPTAJ) held at the Montego Bay High School, St. James, on May 28.

Several parents reported they are being asked to spend thousands of dollars on books “that have not been opened once” during the term.

Senator Reid, while acknowledging the complaints, pointed out that “every book has a value” and urged parents to ensure that their children are familiar with educational material that might not necessarily be a part of the curriculum.

“While we certainly understand the financial constraints and we certainly don’t want to overburden anyone with any unnecessary spending, we also don’t want to use the term “wasted books,” he argued.

“Even though the book might have been used sparingly or might not have been required, parents should still ensure that they are being utilised by their children. We must always remember that learning never stops,” he said.

The Minister, in the meantime, encouraged Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) to implement a welfare assistance fund, which would provide support for students with financial needs.

“We have some parents who can’t register their children and so are unable to take advantage of the social services that are offered. If we can genuinely help, then don’t be afraid to help. You would be surprised to see how that one child you lifted a finger to help turns out. Many success stories are born out of children having received support from a Good Samaritan,” he said.

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