JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Elaine Foster-Allen, is reminding parents to report to the Ministry if they receive booklists amounting to exorbitant prices.
  • The Permanent Secretary lamented that some primary schools had long booklists amounting to $25,000 and more.
  • Mrs. Foster-Allen pointed out that parents are expected to spend approximately $5,000 per grade for the Grades One to Six books, and for children aged seven to nine, the books would amount to $12,000.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Elaine Foster-Allen, is reminding parents to report to the Ministry if they receive booklists amounting to exorbitant prices.

“We are asking parents to be vigilant. Contact us if you receive booklists that are outrageous (and) significantly above the cost guidelines that we’ve issued,” she said.

Mrs. Foster-Allen was addressing the NCB Employees Co-operative Credit Union Limited’s 2014 Treasure Chest Solid Goal Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) awards ceremony, held at the Alhambra Inn and Restaurant in Kingston, on August 7.

The Permanent Secretary lamented that some primary schools had long booklists amounting to $25,000 and more and, “that is not sustainable in this age and time, especially if you have two or three children.”

She said the Ministry recognizes that “times are hard” and has been in constant dialogue with the book publishers and the Sellers Association.

Mrs. Foster-Allen reminded that the Ministry has a book loan scheme for secondary aged children, noting that the only books not provided are those that are “critical to the school’s own local curriculum.”

“At high school, the Ministry provides all text books needed, except literature books and some books that are peculiar to the individual school,” she said.

Mrs. Foster-Allen pointed out that parents are expected to spend approximately $5,000 per grade for the Grades One to Six books, and for children aged seven to nine, the books would amount to $12,000.

“These are average prices, but we are asking parents to shop around (to get the best value for money),” she urged.

The NCB Employees Co-operative Credit Union Limited’s Treasure Chest Solid Goal scholarship, which was initiated in 2010, awards $50,000 each year to the top two students who display exemplary characteristics/performance in the GSAT examinations.

The scholarship is renewed each academic year for five years, once the child maintains a 70 per cent average. This year, six persons are renewing their scholarships, while two awardees are the top GSAT students for 2014.