JIS News

In its quest to implement more creative ways to boost the image and academic potential of Jamaican school children in inner city schools, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture launched its Inner City Schools’ Initiative Programme on Thursday (Sept. 25) at the Denham Town High School in Kingston.
Denham Town High School is one of 20 schools where the programme has been implemented. The other 19 schools are spread across the island and all share common traits with Denham Town.
The programme’s launch at Denham Town High School was hosted under the theme, ‘Recapturing the Glory, Reaffirming Our Identity, Bringing Pride and Greater Hope in Our Schools’ and took the form of a cultural concert.
The concert showcased performances that included African drumming, the singing of contemporary reggae and dancehall music, chorale singing of Jamaican folk standards and costumed dances set to Afro-Jamaican music beats. Speaking with JIS News, Director of Culture in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, Sydney Bartley said that the programme was meant to expose students to cultural aspects of Jamaica as well as having them visit theatrical productions, restaurants, hotels, and media houses to have a greater appreciation of Jamaica’s colourful and dynamic culture.
Mr. Bartley further noted that in developing the programme for inner-city schools, the Ministry’s objective was to demonstrate the important influence that inner-city communities have had on Jamaican culture.
The Director of Culture stated that the contributions of the inner city had strengthened the nation’s culture, particularly in its musical heritage.
Making reference to reggae icon, Bob Marley and Trench Town, Mr. Bartley told JIS News, “These areas are now seen as depressed and students [from these communities] have a sense that they cannot access or achieve certain things, so there is a need for us to give the children an appreciation of self and a feeling that they can achieve what they want to become.”
Acting Principal of Denham Town High School, Jacqueline Gordon-Hall, said that she eagerly welcomed the implementation of the programme into the school.
Mrs. Gordon-Hall said she hoped that the students’ exposure to the positive elements of Jamaican culture, which the programme sought to promote, would enable the students to serve as role models for other students who might be wayward.
The Inner City Schools’ Initiative Programme was also launched by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture at the Seaward Town Primary and Junior High School, Spanish Town High School, and St. James High School.

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