JIS News

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  • She told JIS News that parents and guardians who choose to homeschool their children must take full responsibility to ensure that their children are educated in a safe and conducive learning environment, guided by the standards provided by the Ministry.
  • “Parents who request to have their child/children homeschooled for the new school year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, should write to the Board of Management of the school in which the student is enrolled to indicate that the child has been approved for homeschooling and to request that their child’s/children’s registration at the school be retained.
  • It is the duty of the parent of every child of compulsory school age residing in a compulsory education area to cause him/her to receive full-time education suitable to his age, ability and satisfactory to the educational board for the area, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

Registrar of the Independent Schools Unit, Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Dr. Euphemia Burke-Robinson, says a homeschool policy is currently being developed and is to be reviewed by the Ministry’s legal team.

She told JIS News that parents and guardians who choose to homeschool their children must take full responsibility to ensure that their children are educated in a safe and conducive learning environment, guided by the standards provided by the Ministry. Dr. Burke-Robinson pointed out that in Jamaica, the maximum number for homeschooling is six students in any one setting, and that special permission must be granted from the Ministry for the homeschool to exceed the maximum of six children.

The Independent Schools Unit in the Ministry has responsibility for the registration, approval and regulation of homeschools in Jamaica.

Homeschools are governed by the Education Act, 1965, and the Independent Schools’ Regulations 1973. 

The Education Act of 1965 (Part III), Section 21 states:

a) It is the duty of the parent of every child of compulsory school age residing in a compulsory education area to cause him/her to receive full-time education suitable to his age, ability and satisfactory to the educational board for the area, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise. Dr. Burke-Robinson said that due to the current effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, there exists a growing demand to establish homeschools, which forms part of the paradigm shift and an alternative to the public education system. 

The Unit, as part of its responsibility in regulating homeschools, provides information on the standards and guidelines for the registration of homeschools; reviews and appraises completed applications for submission to the Independent Schools Committee for approval of registration; inspects home facilities and designated records pertinent to the validity and reliability of the structure and delivery of instructions in homeschools; and conducts deregistration of homeschools that fail in the maintenance of the basic standards on the recommendation of  the Independent Schools Committee. “Parents who request to have their child/children homeschooled for the new school year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, should write to the Board of Management of the school in which the student is enrolled to indicate that the child has been approved for homeschooling and to request that their child’s/children’s registration at the school be retained. This request should be supported by a certified copy of the approval granted by the Independent Schools Unit for the child to be homeschooled,” Dr. Burke-Robinson explained.

For further information, persons may contact the Independent Schools Unit via email at isu@moey.gov.jm.

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