Jamaica’s Ministry of Education, Youth & Information recently addressed the growing number of families choosing to homeschool during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Homeschools in the Caribbean nation are currently governed by the Education Act of 1965 and the Independent School Regulation of 1973.
Recognizing the rising interest in home education, ministry officials reminded families of the strict regulations governing homeschooling—both online and at a recent teachers conference.
The ministry wrote earlier this month:
Due to the current effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, there exists a growing demand to establish homeschools, which forms part of the paradigm shift and an alternative to the public education system. Homeschooling involves parent/s or guardian/s taking on the task of educating his/her/their children in the familiar controlled setting of the home. The homeschool system allows children to work at their own pace, in which teaching and learning is facilitated by parents, family member or a trained tutor at the expense of the parent/guardian. 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 of Education, Youth and Information.
Though all families in Jamaica who wish to homeschool must submit a notification, the maximum number of children you can educate in a single homeschool is six. If you homeschool seven or more, you have to apply for special permission.
Further regulations include inspecting home facilities and designated records to validate the home instruction provided. Failure to maintain basic standards and follow guidelines recommended by the Independent Schools Committee could result in deregistration of the homeschool program.
Guidelines also call for submitting documentation for each child such as an application form, a photograph, a birth certificate, immunization card, and two letters of recommendation for the parent. Special conditions due to COVID-19 also require an officer from the Independent Schools Committee to schedule a virtual interview with the parent or legal guardian.
You can read the full guidance here.