The Ministry of Education is taking action to get schools to reduce the long list of expensive textbooks distributed to students for the new school year.
Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, has said the Ministry is preparing a list of required texts for schools in September, to cover each subject area and for each grade, which will be available in mid-August.
Rev. Thwaites was speaking at the launch of ‘Project Climate Save’, a book by Jamaican author, Petre Williams-Raynor, at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) Auditorium, in Kingston, on June 27.
“It is not acceptable that the booklist for primary schools (Grades One and Two) should cost $38,000 and $40,000. For secondary schools, it runs to $50,000 and $55, 000,” the Minister said. “What we need are a few books, but good books,” he added.
The Minister said it is fully recognised that teachers will want to supplement those texts with particular preferences that they have, but this must be limited. “It can’t be five and seven for each subject. We need to pick out the best and develop an industry that is flexible enough, is discriminating enough and progressive enough that can help us to make these decisions,” he said.
The Ministry wants as much local material, written and published in Jamaica, but with a global perspective, Rev. Thwaites said. “We want to encourage local production and there is already consideration for all efforts in this regard,” he added.
Rev. Thwaites lauded the publication of ‘Project Climate Save’, describing it as timely. He noted that the issue of global warming is “often postponed and ignored,” and this cannot be allowed to continue.
He explained that the book has passed through the various prisms of approval in the Ministry and has received full and strong approval. The Ministry has endorsed the book as “appropriate for children at the primary school level” and said that it could be used to complement the Grade 3 curriculum theme ‘My Physical Environment’, as well as ‘Jamaica Island Nation’ in Grade 4.
The book is about a 10 year-old Jamaican child, Ray, who comes up with an idea of how to reduce the effects of global warming on the people, animals and the environment.
The Author noted that the book is the realisation of a long held dream. “I have been longing and longing to write a book and finally I hit upon the subject that I felt was of value,” she told the audience.
She said that Jamaica, as an island, is particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change. “We cannot afford to ignore rising sea levels, more intense hurricanes or storms or coastal erosions,” she said.
By Andrea Braham