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Education ministry warns parents about PEP extra classes

Published:Wednesday | October 3, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
Minister of Education Ruel Reid (second left) fields questions during a Teacher Sensitisation and Consultation Session on Tuesday at Old Harbour New Testament Church in St Catherine. He is flanked by (from left) Chief Education Officer Dr Grace McLean; Acting Deputy Chief Education Officer Dasmine Kennedy; and Assistant Chief Education Officer, Core Curriculum Unit, Winnie Berry.

Parents are being warned to be diligent should they decide to allow their children to pursue extra classes outside of their schools to prepare for the Primary Exit Profile (PEP).

Education Minister Ruel Reid, in responding to concerns about the curriculum being delivered outside of registered schools, said that while he had no problem with tutors and other individuals who want to instruct students, parents will have to make it their duty to ensure that their children are being properly taught.

"The conflict we have would be independent schools, and they should actually register with our independent unit. It's an area that we are trying to regulate. As it currently exists, you could properly register a business that is delivering PEP (curriculum) by virtue of going to the Companies Office of Jamaica to register a business. It wouldn't be a school authorised by the ministry," he told a press conference at the ministry's offices in downtown Kingston, yesterday.

"We have to think critically, being able to see information and make the right decisions. Our guidance to parents is that if you are going anywhere, you have to make sure that the institution is properly registered. You could also find out if they are registered with the Ministry of Education, or else you would be taking a personal risk. There are some persons who will want to be tutors, and we can't stop that, but we are just saying to the parents to do the necessary checks."

Latoya West-Blackwood, chair of the Book Industry Association of Jamaica, offered similar advice to parents, cautioning them to be wise in their decisions.

"PEP, while it is an opportunity to move our children forward, it is also being used as a business opportunity in some cases, so parents will have to hold themselves accountable in terms of how they make decisions to purchase materials," she said.

See Primary Exit Profile (PEP) lessons every Monday in The Gleaner's Children's Own's Smart Start pull-out section.