Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness says culture is a vital aspect of Jamaica’s national heritage and its continued incorporation into the education system is essential.
“We have to therefore use the tools of culture, use our creativity to infuse that into our curriculum so that it gets directly to the minds of the students,” Minister Holness said.
He was speaking at on February 10 launch of ‘Jamaica Day’ at the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Library at its Tom Redcam Avenue location.
He said that the Ministry sees culture as being very important in communicating with the population and reinforcing and maintaining the value system.
“Culture is not divorced from national goals, so culture is not divorced from economic growth, social development. In fact, it is a part of the whole strategy for growing and developing our country,” he said.
“We need to take this very dynamic thing called culture and transform it into paying respect and homage to the very simple and important things like punctuality, respect for law and order, and respect for each other,” Minister Holness emphasised.
‘Jamaica Day’ is celebrated once every academic year, on the last Friday in February and is designated to showcase aspects of Jamaica’s culture through the performing arts, visits to historical sites, sporting activities and recognition of outstanding citizens.
The day will be observed on Friday, February 25, under the theme: ‘Celebrating Jamaica: Feasting on the Heritage’. Activities for the day will comprise debates, quizzes, panel discussions, seminars, symposia and displays.
Director of the Culture in Education Programme (CIEP), Amina Blackwood Meeks, said that Jamaica Day is mandatory and is a major activity of the CIEP and is designed to highlight positive national achievements in a way which will enhance the vision and aspirations of the students for themselves and their schools.
It also aims to help inspire excellence; encourage personal responsibility; foster national pride; and to enhance the relationships that the schools have with the communities in which they are located.
The CIEP places culture as a mechanism within the classroom to enrich curriculum delivery. It also serves as a tool for building clubs and societies as well as a device for giving meaning to the performing arts programme of various institutions.
Mrs. Blackwood Meeks said this year’s theme will focus on Jamaica’s food, noting that, “we are going to look at the history and the heritage and the culture and the social indications and the economic factors that reside in the food."
CONTACT: ALECIA SMITH