KINGSTON — Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, is urging parents to follow the supplementary textbook list, which is endorsed by the Ministry, as they make purchases for the new academic year.
“If parents follow that list, they will see the books that best, in the opinion of the Ministry, covers the curriculum. If you stick to that endorsed list, your booklist should be manageable,” he said, at a joint press briefing with Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, on August 22 in New Kingston.
“Even though you are given quite an extensive booklist, it doesn’t mean that you have to purchase all the books in the subject area. Stick to the endorsed list, speak with your teachers, guidance counselor and principal, to find out which book really covers the curriculum sufficiently,” Mr. Holness advised.
He explained that at the primary level, the government provides the core text and workbooks for students, while at the secondary level, "we operate a textbook rental programme, as well as the core texts."
"I'm not saying that the text adequately covers the curriculum, but they usually cover all the critical areas in the curriculum. For a rounded education, schools usually provide a booklist with other books to supplement what the Ministry provides. In some areas, we don’t provide core text (such as English literature), so the parent would have to bear the full burden of the purchase of those books,” he outlined.
For this reason, the Ministry provides an endorsed supplementary text list, which is published in newspapers, and is available on its website as well as at Social Development Commission (SDC) offices.
Mr. Holness noted that while the Ministry encourages parents to purchase as many texts as is possible, it also encourages parents to be smart consumers.
The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) textbook survey for 2011 has found that prices have, this year, increased an average of five per cent over July 2010, remaining below the inflation rate of 7.2 per cent.
This represents a one per cent improvement over the similar period for 2009-2010, and four per cent over the previous period of 2008-2009.
The annual textbook survey aims to provide consumers/parents with information in making their purchases; and present researched evidence regarding textbooks as critical consumer items.
Persons may visit the CAC's website for full details of the report at: www.cac.gov.jm.
By ALPHEA SAUNDERS, JIS Reporter