New policy initiative for schoolbooks programme

The Keith Mitchell-led government has announced that a new policy initiative will be unveiled in the new school year which starts in September aimed at improving the handlings of the schoolbooks programme and other school assistance programmes.

According to Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Senator Simon Stiell with all schoolbooks distributed in the different schools, the government’s focus will now be on the development of a new enhanced policy.

“Our focus will now shift on the development of a new policy for the school books programme and the thrust of this policy as we have been saying since we came into office is optimising the books that already in the system, better optimising those to make provisions for new technologies in the classroom, that will complement the use of traditional school books, ensuring that those families, those students that cannot afford books are best served from the programme,” Sen. Stiell told reporters at the weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing.

Sen. Stiell said this initiative will allow for government to improve and strengthen the management of the programme in terms of looking at the role of the Ministry, and school in the management of the programme.

This programme, he added will also ensure that books are returned and returned in the best possible condition.

“It will also enable us to strengthen other School Assistance Programmes that this government is committed to and has strengthened since coming into office whether that is the school uniform programme, school transportation programme, the school feeding programme and other needy assistance programmes because this government recognises that assistance goes beyond school books.

“School books are important but there are other school support services which are equally important to ensure that our school kids are able to get to school, are properly equipped, properly fed etc.

“The programme that we offer is far more expansive than those offered previously. This new policy initiative will look at how we can strengthen all of that and remove some of the mis-management that we have seen in the past.

According to Sen. Stiell a task force will be put in place to oversee the development of the policy.

In addition, he said strategies and mechanisms will be put in place to properly manage the newlook programme and that will include Ministry and non-Ministry staff…” he said.

Sen. Stiell disclosed that the work will begin now to ensure that benefits from all the programmes will be felt from the new school year.

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