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From left: Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Harry Husbands, chatting with Founder and Principal, Nicole Wills, and Co-Principal, Julia Franklin, yesterday after his tour of the school.


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Increase in homeschooling


By Patricia Thangaraj

There is an increasing interest by Barbadian parents to homeschool their children.

This was revealed by Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Harry Husbands, who spoke with the media yesterday after a tour of Wills Primary School.

He said that although he has not investigated the matter himself, from information gathered from discussions with other educational stakeholders at the Ministry, this was the consensus that he has reached.

I gather from informal discussions with officials in the Ministry that homeschooling is on the rise in Barbados and that there are an increasing number that does not mean that there are a large number, but there are an increasing number of parents who are opting for homeschooling.

He said that this can present a challenge in that the Ministry is quite busy overseeing the government and private schools and homeschooling presents additional educational places that they would have to look out for. However, if this is something that parents want, then the Ministry is willing to lend their support.

It presents a challenge for the Ministry in terms of supervision. The Ministry is challenged dealing with all of the government primary and secondary; schools in the private sector, both primary and secondary; and then the addition of homeschooling does represent a challenge at this time, but I think that it is a challenge that we will have to change to meet. If that is the option that is wanted by an increasing number of parents, so be it. All they have to do is the necessary work and so on, so that the children dont end up suffering.

Husbands stated that he could not give the specific number, but what is more important is the increasing trend in Barbados towards this form of schooling and once these parents followed certain procedures, such as the curriculum for each age group, then the Ministry of Education does not have a problem with homeschooling. However, one of the issues that he would like to see further is supervising the system after the initial permission has been granted.

Husbands, who has toured approximately 10 private primary and secondary schools and is planning on visiting another four or five, said that he did not plan to visit all of these schools, but persons started to call in and request that he tour their school as well.

Registration, parental involvement, discipline of the students, government bureaucracy for not getting back to them in a timely manner, access to technology, security and other issues that are also raised by Government schools, were some of the common issues that were highlighted during these tours.

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