Registrar of the Independent Schools Unit in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Dr Euphemia Burke-Robinson, says a homeschool policy is currently being developed and is to be reviewed by the ministry’s legal team.
She said that parents and guardians who choose to homeschool their children must take full responsibility to ensure that their children are educated in a safe and conducive learning environment, guided by the standards provided by the ministry.
According to Burke-Robinson, in Jamaica, the maximum number for homeschooling is six students in any one setting. She also noted that special permission must be granted from the ministry for the homeschool to exceed the maximum of six children.
The Independent Schools Unit in the ministry has responsibility for the registration, approval and regulation of homeschools in Jamaica.
Burke-Robinson said that there has been a growing demand to establish homeschools, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said the unit, as part of its responsibility in regulating homeschools, provides information on the standards and guidelines for the registration of homeschools; and reviews and appraises completed applications for submission to the Independent Schools Committee for approval of registration.
The unit also inspects home facilities and designated records pertinent to the validity and reliability of the structure and delivery of instruction in homeschools; and conducts deregistration of homeschools 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 homeschooled 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 homeschooling 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 homeschooled,” Dr Burke-Robinson explained.