The Ministry of Education (MOE), through its Department of Education (DOE), launched its first annual Public School Registration Drive on March 3, 2020. The launch was a part of a continuing effort to minimize the delays and challenges associated with the registration process. Registration for the upcoming school year commenced March 2nd 2020, and will end on June 30th, 2020; taking place between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. During a press conference held at the Ministry of Education, Director of Education Marcellus Taylor along with other Education officials announced the details surrounding the process of registration for the 2020/2021 school year. Mr. Taylor noted that for the first time, registration of all public school students is standardized; and is taking place within a stipulated timeline.
“We have embarked upon a more comprehensive school registration process to include the registration of new students at preschool, primary and secondary levels.” Mr. Taylor stated. “We have a defined period of registration in excess of three months. We believe that that should be sufficient time for any and all parents who are interested and who are mandated to register their children to do so. We want people to go to the schools during this period so that we can have this process wrapped up by the end of school this year; so that as we plan over the summer, we can have a smoother transition from one school year to the next.” added the director.
This registration exercise involves students entering preschool for the first time, grades 1, 7 and 10. Documents required for registration include the student’s passport, birth certificate, NIB smart card, immunization card (pre & primary school if it applies), and the most recent report card from the last school attended (if it applies). Documents required for proof of identity of the parents/guardians of the registrants include their birth certificate, a government issued ID with a photo, and adoption papers, if applicable. Parents registering students entering preschool should report to the government preschool within their area. Likewise, parents of students entering grades 1, 7 and 10 are asked to report to the school in their area, or the identified feeder school.
Moreover, students entering primary school for the first time should reach five years old on or before September 30th , 2020. With regard to students transferring from private schools and the Family Islands, parents of these students are asked to report to the district office for registration. Director Taylor announced that the DOE has made a number of adjustments to the registration process to ensure a smoother transition into the new school year. One such addition to this process is the introduction of Transition Meetings. These sessions are designed for parents of students entering junior or senior high school for the first time; as they focus on the policies, procedures and expectations of the receiving schools. Another enhancement to this year’s registration exercise is the fact that junior and senior high school student orientation is now scheduled to take place the week prior to the official opening of school. Previously, orientation exercises were conducted during the first week of school.
Director Taylor and his team called on all parents to comply with the stipulated deadlines, and to be supportive of this initiative. “March is Parental Involvement Month. Schools will be engaged in walk-abouts, and parents will be distributing flyers pertaining to the registration drive. We call on parents to join the schools in their communities and to make their presence felt.” Mr. Taylor appealed. “When we would’ve engaged in a successful registration process, we could expect the following: efficient deployment of teachers and other resources, an efficient timetable in operation from day-one, students who are focused and ready for school, instructional focus captured from day- one, and ultimately the achievement of our most important goal which is 85% of our students graduating from secondary school by the year 2030.”
Meanwhile, Senior Education Officer for Special Education Carolyn Hall-Knowles was also a part of the panel. She noted that parents desiring to register their children for the Ministry’s Pre- Primary Special Education Programme should first ensure the child is referred and receives a psychological evaluation; to ensure proper placement. She added that students entering the Junior High Special Education Programme should first receive placement letters. Other officials present at the press conference included Assistant Director of Education, Schools Management, Antoinette Storr; Assistant Director of Education, Preschool Unit, Leja Burrows; Acting Assistant Director of Education, Special Services Section, Sharon Clarke; and School Management Director, Zane Lightbourne.