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Teachers, parents at odds over textbook guidelines expenditure

Published:Thursday | July 30, 2015 | 7:00 AMMikhail Williams
Parents and students check out textbooks.

With parents expecting to spend thousands of dollars on textbooks for the upcoming school year, the Ministry of Education has proposed textbook guidelines and are imploring parents to follow when buying books for their children attending school from grades one to nine.

However, there have been outcries coming from several secondary-school teachers and principals in the Corporate Area about the guidelines, who were seeking the rationale behind the restrictions on expenses and the number of books necessary.

Christopher Humber, a teacher from the Wolmer's Boys' School, pointed out, "[With] certain subjects, you need more than two supplementary texts, and I don't think that's possible at all. We need to be current. How can I enter a class and use an old text to teach?"

students' level

"Depending on the student's level, there might be a need for extra books," another teacher from a popular boys' school in the Corporate Area added. "Schooling is not cheap."

When asked about the expenses amassed to buy books in one school year, one parent was quick to point out that at one point, she spent double the recommended amount for her son while he was in grade three.

"Usually, like $15,000 on books, but last year, it dropped dramatically," the mother told The Gleaner. "I got my book list stamped and approved by ministry."

Another parent, when asked about the awareness of the guidelines for textbook expenses, declared that he was made aware of it, but his expenses were well over the guidelines expressed by the ministry.

"For grade six books, $8000; for [grades one to nine] about $15,000," said the father. "Each book suppose to use up for the term, but sometimes, there are books that aren't touched."