Mr Speaker, in a ministry paper to be tabled in the House today, I have outlined guidelines for the purchase of textbooks for the 2015/2016 academic year.
The Ministry of Education provides textbooks annually for students in the primary and secondary schools. This year it will cost the Ministry $775 Million to procure these books.
These textbooks reflect the content of the Revised Primary Curriculum and the syllabi for the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC), National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica (NVQJ), Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) and the City and Guilds. For enrichment purposes, the Ministry also provides a list of supplementary textbooks.
With the exception of texts for Literatures in English, the texts provided at both levels for content disciplines are sufficiently adequate to support and reinforce the learning experiences of the students.
Notwithstanding, at the secondary level in particular, there are concepts and topics that are treated differently by different authors.
In this regard students at this level should be allowed to hone their critical thinking and analytical skills by comparing, contrasting and analyzing information presented by different sources and making value judgments about the credibility and adequacy of sources.
The Ministry continues to monitor closely the use of other texts to augment its provisions, in light of the exorbitant amount that parents are expected to invest in textbooks, some of which are often not used.
The following is based on Schools’ Bulletin 26/2015 titled ‘Guidelines for the Development of Schools’ Booklists and indicates the number of books to be purchased at grade levels 1- 9.
|Grade Levels||Number of Books to be Purchased|
|1-3||No more than two supplementary texts|
|4-6||One workbook each for Science, Social Studies, Language Arts and Mathematics|
|7-9||No more than two supplementary texts, and on average, three (3) Literature books, approximately one per term|
Books that are required to purchase outside of these guidelines MUST be based on children’s unique learning needs.
In addition, parents may also be required to purchase dictionaries, atlases, technical equipment and other materials that are specific to specialized areas such as Home Economics, Visual Arts, Industrial Arts and Engineering.
AVERAGE COST OF RECOMMENDED TEXTBOOKS
Following a survey of the cost of the various textbooks recommended by the Ministry, the average costs for books based on the guidelines are outlined below. It must be noted that these costs cover textbooks only and not the support materials for school.
|GRADE LEVELS||Average Cost per Grade Level|
|Grade 1 Average Cost||$4000.00|
|Grade 2 Average Cost||$4000.00|
|Grade 3 Average Cost|
|Grade 4 Average Cost|
|Grade 5 Average Cost|
|Grade 6 Average Cost||$7,500.00|
|Grade 7 Average Cost|
|Grade 8 Average Cost||$11,200.01|
|Grade 9 Average Cost||$12,368.00|
Parents are encouraged to contact the Ministry of Education at 922-1400 – 9 or www.moe.gov.jm or the Ministry’s regional offices.