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The Government is to spend $219 million more on text books this year largely as a result of the addition of new titles. This additional amount represents an increase of 26 per cent over what was spent last year.The announcement was made by Deputy Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Salomie Evering.
“This year we are spending approximately $1.2 billion on textbooks, $700 million at the secondary level and $520 million for the primary. Part of the increased cost would account for the addition of new titles at both levels”, she said, pointing out that “for the primary, a number of the books are consumables or workbooks and must be replaced each year”. Last year the Government spent a total of $980,536,690 on textbooks.
She further indicated that the overwhelming demand for these books is also a factor, as well as upgraded versions of books already in use.
“For this year we added three new titles at the secondary level”, she informed, citing Human and Social Biology, Economics and Physical Education. She explained that “the review cycle for the text is normally five years, except for Information Technology that is reviewed every three years. However a title may be added because of an overwhelming demand for the text, so long as it meets the criteria for selection, new content or an upgraded version”.
The Ministry is using different methods to educate parents on the books that are available to them.
“What we have done so that parents can also know the books that are available is to put on the website the list of books that will be provided by the Ministry at the primary and secondary levels. We have sent bulletins to schools, we will be publishing these in the newspapers and we are looking at posting them in public areas, such as post offices,” the Deputy Chief Education Officer pointed out.
Mrs. Evering is however, advising parents to read and compare their booklists to the Ministry’s list, to ensure that they make note of these books that are available in order not to buy them, because some of these books are provided by the schools.
“There will be some books that will be provided in class sets and these are mainly in technical vocational areas, and some booklists, when we looked at them, they had some of the books that the Ministry will be providing in class sets. But when we say class set this means the teachers are given these books in class and the children are not allowed to take them home”, she explained.
Some of the publications for primary schools include Carlong Publishers (Caribbean) Ltd, Mid Island Educators, Eniath’s Printing Company and GINN, while for the secondary schools, the publishers are Carlong Publishers (Caribbean) Ltd, Sangster’s Bookstores Ltd, Kingston Bookshop Ltd, Bryans Bookstores Ltd, and Book Wizard.