The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is advising parents and guardians who intend to homeschool their children for the 2020/2021 academic year to contact the Ministry before pulling their children from the formal school system.
Speaking at the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) 56th Annual Conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on August 19, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda, said parents who desire this alternative option, in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, must get authorisation by sending a formal letter of request to the Ministry.
“Parents who wish to have their children homeschooled for the new school year should write to the regional offices to request that registration at the school be retained and attendance credited for the period of homeschooling,” he informed.
This, he said, will ensure that students can be reintegrated into school “should the decision be taken at a later stage by the parent to re-engage in the public school system.” Mr. Samuda informed that the Ministry keeps a record of every child that is engaged in educational training in Jamaica.
Meanwhile, the Education Minister said that homeschooling should not be confused with distance learning, which is facilitated by the public education system.
“The homeschool system allows children to learn at their own pace, in which teaching and learning is facilitated by parents, family members or a trained tutor at the expense of the parent or guardian. Don’t get that confused with distance learning and online teaching.
Online teaching is sponsored by the school system and is a part of the school strategy,” he explained.
The new school term is slated to begin on September 7, barring any major spike in the number of COVID-19 cases across the island.