JIS News

Forty high schools from across the island are scheduled to participate in this year’s Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Heritage Debate Competition. This represents a 34 per cent increase, or 11 more than the number of participants in the competition last year.
The 2003 competition will have its official launch next Monday, October 6 at the Mount Alvernia High School in Montego Bay.
Speaking at the weekly JIS Think Tank session, Regional Manager of JIS, Winsome Vanhorne Christie, said that although the number of participating schools had risen, plans were already in place for the inclusion of even more schools next year.
Outlining the objectives of the debate, Mrs. Vanhorne Christie explained that these were “to assist students with an awareness of our heritage; to stimulate research; to acquaint the students of their history and provide avenues for them to learn more about their history.”
The Regional Manager said that one of the most important elements stemming from the competition was the desire to foster a greater sense of nationalism among high school youth.
“What we find is that students don’t really learn about our heritage until heritage time comes around so what we sought to do is to encourage the students to research and know more about our national heroes,” she noted.
As it takes money to mount competitions like that of the Heritage Debate, Mrs. Vanhorne Christie expressed deep gratitude for the financial commitments extended by the business community, pointing particularly to the sponsorship from the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCo).
The utility company has pledged $120,000 to secure trophies and book vouchers for winners in this year’s competition.
Community Relations Manager of JPSCo., Maurice Reid said that his company has always practised being a good corporate citizen.
“We have been focusing on education. The company believes that education is the foundation of any country. If any country plans to move forward in any way, we must educate our youth because our youth will become our leaders of tomorrow,” he said.
Against this background, Mr. Reid said, JPSCo. has been working with schools, having previously sponsored four institutions in last year’s Heritage Debate Competition, in addition to being a sponsor of other school-related events. The JIS Heritage Debate Competition started as a pilot project in St. Thomas in 1998. Proving to be quite successful in its test phase, a decision was taken to expand the competition to the island’s other 13 parishes.
The debate focuses on Jamaica’s national heroes. Teams involved in the debate are required to present informed and analytical presentations on the heroes.

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