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  • Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is urging Jamaicans to be proud of and protect the country’s rich heritage.
  • The Education Minister was addressing the launch at Jamaica Day 2016 at the Excelsior Community College in Kingston today (February 16).
  • The day, under the theme: ‘Celebrating Jamaica, Promoting the Arts’, will feature presentations in music, dance, drama, visual arts, theatre/film, designing, literary and culinary arts, among others.

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is urging Jamaicans to be proud of and protect the country’s rich heritage.

“Jamaica is a good place to be born. Our culture is a noble and dignified one and we must not allow it to be smirched and downgraded by all kinds of influences, most of them from abroad,” he said.

The Education Minister was addressing the launch at Jamaica Day 2016 at the Excelsior Community College in Kingston today (February 16).

On Friday, March 4, schools from across the island will celebrate Jamaica Day, with children showcasing activities highlighting the creative industries.

The day, under the theme: ‘Celebrating Jamaica, Promoting the Arts’, will feature presentations in music, dance, drama, visual arts, theatre/film, designing, literary and culinary arts, among others.

The official Jamaica Day celebration will take place at the St. Mary’s Technical High School in Richmond, but other schools are being encouraged to organise activities and events that are central to this year’s theme.

“For Jamaica Day 2016, let us celebrate the artist or artiste in each one of us because we are a creative and expressive people,” Rev. Thwaites said.

He noted that Jamaica Day activities offer the opportunity to reflect on the country’s heritage and to instil in children a sense of national pride.

“This includes giving and reinforcing a positive view of ourselves. (For) this Jamaica Day and always in our schools, let us be happy that we are who we are. We don’t belong to any other colour or any other class or any other place,” he pointed out.

As part of the process to instil national pride, the Ministry has produced textbooks exploring the lifestyles, philosophies and way of life of the country’s National Heroes.

The teaching of civics was incorporated in the curriculum of schools in the 2012/13 academic year to mark the 125th anniversary of Marcus Garvey’s birth. The teachings of Garvey form a major component of the curriculum.

The Education Minister urged Jamaicans to recognise that “there is huge and inherent talent in each and every one of us…and it is through arts and culture that many of our children express their excellence and that can be used as prisms through which to learn other things.”

He noted that the integration of artistic skills with competences in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is critical going forward.

Jamaica Day is part of the Ministry of Education’s Culture in Education Programme. It seeks to celebrate the many markers of our unique “Jamaicanness” and the country’s contribution to the world, which is represented in our continuous striving for excellence and greatness.