SELF Programme under review
- Published on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 07:22
- Written by Toni Frederick
- Hits: 1283
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Government’s Book distribution assistance programme is being reviewed as the Department of Education seeks to address a range of issues.
“After more than 15 years of existence, the SELF (Student Education Learning Fund) textbook distribution programme is again being reviewed,” Minister of Information Nigel Carty said in his Post-Cabinet briefing on Monday.
“In undertaking a comprehensive analysis of the operation of the SELF book programme, the Department of Education has identified and is seeking to address a range of issues relating to book distribution policies, record-keeping and inventory, student accountability, budgetary support, care for and longevity of books, and the need for streamlining the selection of subject texts across schools”
Minister Carty said it was found that schools had adopted disparate policies for textbook distribution and management, proper record-keeping had lapsed at several schools, there was not enough accountability with respect to accessing and returning textbooks, there were increased budgetary requirements as a consequence of the increasing cost of texts and books were quickly falling into a state of disrepair.
In response he said, the Department of Education proposed to do the following:
- establish a committee to identify, select and streamline texts to be used by all schools
- introduce regular stock-taking of the SELF book programme
- create a comprehensive database to assist in the management of the programme
- consider the introduction of a maintenance contribution from students to ensure longevity of the texts and their replacement.”
The new measures will be instituted by September.
Officials from a number of schools who spoke to WINN FM described varying experiences. Some said the policy of not distributing new books, not allowing students to sit exams or not receiving results if there were books outstanding, worked. One school official said however, that they had cases were students simply never collected results after completing fifth form because of unreturned SELF books.
One school reported that they preferred that parents and guardians replace damaged or lost books rather than pay for them, as money would have to be returned to the SELF programme, and the school would not be guaranteed a replacement.
But officials at some institutions told WINN FM that they had difficulties enforcing the rules due to interference. They reported that if attempts were made to deny a student new books, or not allow them to sit an exam, the decision was sometimes overridden by higher authorities. Some claimed that sometimes policies were undermined within the school by teachers and other officials.
Some also reported logistic challenges with being able to adequately examine all books that came in and went out.
One high school official told WINN FM that the best solution would be to establish a centralized SELF distribution system and take the responsibility of handing out and collecting books away from the schools.
Click below to hear caller to WINN FM share their views on the SELF programme
Top Local Stories
Most Read - June 2013
- WINN FM Evening News - 18th June, 2013
- Inside the News Saturday 15th June, 2013
Interview with Chair of the St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party and SKN Minister of Health and Culture Marcella Liburd on 'Caribbean Link Up' on WINN FM and Antigua's Observer Radio - June 14, 2013
- WINN FM Sports News - June 18th, 2013