In these days of austerity, unemployment, recession, high light bills and IMF, parents should not be asked to buy, for their children, books they cannot afford, do not need and probably will not use. Where are the voices of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association and the PTA’s in this matter? The Minister of Educatio, has commented with concern, but my internet search for the Ministry of Education’s endorsed list drew a blank.
Below is a Textbook List for Grade 2 in a government primary school. The total cost for these books is $10,160.00. ( Ja $85 = U.S. $1; so that is about U.S.$ 120). Furthermore, they weigh 8lb 4oz, which a child has to carry every day on her back, since the teacher cannot say which books will be used.
In addition to the books listed below, each student is supplied with 6 Integrated Studies books (2 per term), one math book and an anthology, by the Ministry of Education.
Oxford Primary Dictionary $690.00
Worship in Words (hymn book) $325.00 (These should serve the student through grade 6.)
What a Fright and other stories by Maciver, Baker, Down and Down (Hodder Gibson) $995.00 198 pages. 45 stories each followed by comprehension questions and exercises.
Creative English for Caribbean Primary Schools by Clifford Narinesingh (Royards) $1,147.00 148 pages. 22 units with reading, talking and writing activities.
Practising Comprehension by Clifford Narinesingh (Royards) ($801.00) Instructions for Recalling facts, Selecting the Main Idea, Sequencing followed by 48 practice exercises.
New Caribbean Junior English by Haydn Richards (Ginn) $1,250.00 This is not called a workbook, but the student is expected to write in it, making it unusable to another student. 122 pages: Parts of Speech, Sentence structure, readings, comprehension questions etc.
Integrated Reader 2 by McLean and Fearon (Mid-Island Educators) $1020.00 155 pages. 38 reading passages on a variety of science and social studies topics, followed by activities.
There is a great deal of overlap in the content of these five books, and a total of 275 ‘lessons’—far more than can be completed in one school year. One of these five books, together with teaching, would cover everything in the syllabus.
Integrated Phonics Workbook by McLean and Fearon (Mid-Island Educators) $976.00 If the child needs a phonics workbook, he would not be able to read much in the books listed above!
Grade 2 Integrated Mathematics Workbook by Miles, Campbell, McLean and Fearon (Mid-Island Educators) $976.00.
Second Year Assessment Tests English by Hyacinth Bennett (Carlong) $990.00
Second Year Assessment Tests Mental Ability by Hyacinth Bennett (Carlong) $990.00
At this same primary school last year, a student in grade 1 was required to purchase two workbooks which were hardly used. One of the books had 200 pages—only 20 pages were used.
This booklist mania is not in the interest of parents, students or Jamaica. Many of these books are published overseas; publishers here have to buy paper and ink abroad, both using up valuable foreign exchange.
Let us make 2011 the last year of inflated booklist madness.