The Ministry of Education is expecting to complete the distribution of textbooks to primary and high schools across the island by August 31.
"We are, right now, in the process of distributing textbooks to the system. Some distribution has already taken place and we expect that by August 31, all textbooks would have been in place in the schools," said Deputy Chief Education Officer, Sharon Neil.
She was addressing a 'Think Tank' on August 23 at the Jamaica Information Service's (JIS) head office in Kingston.
Ms. Neil informed that some $900 million has been allocated to provide textbooks for all grades and in all subject areas, except for literature and cosmetology books, and in sixth form.
She said schools may require parents to purchase additional texts, and the Ministry has provided some guidelines to inform these purchases.
"At the primary level, we are indicating that parents may be required to buy one reader at Grades One to Three, and one phonics text also at Grades One to Three. Parents may also purchase for literacy and numeracy at Grade Four… to provide additional help to students, who are preparing for the (Grade Four Literacy) test.
"At Grades Four to Six, we recommend that parents be required to purchase workbooks to accompany those textbooks, which we provide in science, language arts, mathematics and social studies," she outlined.
Ms. Neil said the provision of textbooks over the years has been one of the responses of the Ministry of Education to the need to improve equity and access across the education system.
She noted that a "rigorous review process" is undertaken to select the relevant books.
“The textbooks are not arbitrarily selected. We have a review team in place, which comprises officers of the Ministry of Education as well as subject area specialists, who undertake that review,” she informed.
Ms. Neil said the provision of textbooks by the Ministry is also expected to result in a “considerable” reduction in cost to parents.
The new school year is expected to commence on September 3