Tuesday 27 October, 2020

Home-school policy being developed - Education Ministry official

The Registrar of the Independent Schools Unit, Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, D. Euphemia Burke-Robinson, says a home-school policy is currently being developed and is to be reviewed by the ministry’s legal team.    

She told JIS News in an interview that parents and guardians who choose to home-school their children must take full responsibility to ensure that their children are educated in a safe and conducive learning environment that is guided by the standards provided by the ministry.

Burke-Robinson said in Jamaica, the maximum number for home-schooling is six students in any one setting, and that special permission must be granted from the ministry for the home-school to exceed the maximum of six children.

The Independent Schools Unit in the ministry has responsibility for the registration, approval and regulation of home-schools in Jamaica.                                                         

Home-schools are governed by the Education Act, 1965, and the Independent Schools’ Regulations 1973.           

The Education Act of 1965 (Part III), Section 21 states: “It is the duty of the parent of every child of compulsory school age residing in a compulsory education area to cause him/her to receive full-time education suitable to his age, ability and satisfactory to the educational board for the area, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.”

Burke-Robinson said due to the current effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, there exists a growing demand to establish home-schools, which forms part of a paradigm shift from, and an alternative to the public education system.                                                                    

The unit, as part of its responsibility in regulating home-schools, provides information on the standards and guidelines for the registration of home-schools; reviews and appraises completed applications for submission to the Independent Schools Committee for approval of registration; inspects home facilities and designated records pertinent to the validity and reliability of the structure and delivery of instructions in home-schools; and conducts deregistration of home-schools that fail in the maintenance of the basic standards on the recommendation of  the Independent Schools Committee.

“Parents who request to have their child/children home-schooled for the new school year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, should write to the Board of Management of the school in which the student is enrolled, to indicate that the child has been approved for home-schooling, and to request that their child’s/children’s registration at the school be retained. This request should be supported by a certified copy of the approval granted by the Independent Schools Unit for the child to be home-schooled,” Burke-Robinson outlined.

For further information, persons may contact the Independent Schools Unit via email at isu@moey.gov.jm

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