Government Senator, K.D. Knight, has recommended that Jamaica Day should be celebrated and recognised within the Diaspora, instead of being solely observed locally within the school system.
“I long for a Jamaica Day that is recognised in the Diaspora, a Jamaica Day that other school systems, where many Jamaicans are involved in other countries, could find it possible to embrace this as we showcase our culture,” Senator Knight said.
He was commenting on a Motion brought by Opposition Senator, Kamina Johnson Smith, on March 9 in the Senate.
The Motion called for the Ministry of Education “to consider and implement methods by which Jamaica Day can have increased co-ordination, a variety of prescribed activities from which to choose, that integrate with curricular objectives and systematic sharing of best practises, so as to optimise the day’s benefit for all our children."
In her remarks, Senator Johnson Smith said that it is important that the country seizes the opportunities created by events such as Jamaica Day to embed the country’s heritage in the education system.
“Jamaica Day seeks to uplift our children and to uplift our society. We have to realise that we are in an unforgiving cycle. Culture and arts in education build well rounded well adjusted, creative thinking children. It reduces incidents of crime and anti social behaviour and when a society reduces crime and anti social behaviour, it becomes ripe for sustainable development,” Senator Johnson Smith said.
She recommended that a comprehensive Jamaican culture guide could be created to facilitate a more organised day of activity.
“This guide would contain a pool of curricular-driven, arts-based activities, to support the implementation of Jamaica Day. It would address different learning styles of our children, and it would make more equitable and consistent the educational outcomes of the day,” Senator Johnson Smith said.
For her part, Government Senator, Angela Brown Burke noted that Jamaica Day activities present an opportunity to put on show what has been learnt and reinterpreted by teachers, students and parents alike.
“This, I believe, brings a unique flavour to the celebrations which have now become truly theirs. The celebration allows for the introduction of known icons, such as our National Heroes and cultural icons, but also provides the opportunity to discuss our everyday heroes and local role models,” she added.
The Senator said she did not see the necessity for a Jamaica culture guide for Jamaica Day activities.The Motion was amended to read: “The
Senate acknowledges the work of the Ministry of Education in co-ordinating Jamaica Day celebrations over the last 10 years, and that the Ministry of Education reviews and implements methods by which Jamaica Day can have increased co-ordination, a variety of optional activities designed to integrate with the curricular objectives and systematic sharing of best practises, so as to optimise the day’s benefit for all our children." The amended motion was approved by the Senate.
Jamaica Day was celebrated in schools on February 17.
By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter