- Approximately 100 students from schools in the Corporate Area are set to increase their knowledge of the island’s rich heritage.
- The card will allow them to access, free of cost, the museums and galleries of the Institute of Jamaica; JCDC events and JAMBIZ productions.
- The initiative seeks to expose, educate and engender, within the nation’s children, a greater appreciation and understanding of Jamaica’s culture.
Approximately 100 students from schools in the Corporate Area are set to increase their knowledge of the island’s rich heritage after being presented with Culture Cards.
The card will allow them to access, free of cost, the museums and galleries of the Institute of Jamaica; Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) events and JAMBIZ productions.
The project, which was conceptualised by the Ministry of Youth and Culture, targeted students at Papine High; Haile Selassie High; St. Andrew Technical High and Vauxhall High Schools, during the initial phase of the programme.
The initiative seeks to expose, educate and engender, within the nation’s children, a greater appreciation and understanding of Jamaica’s culture and cultural experiences.
Speaking at the official launch at the National Gallery, downtown Kingston, on Wednesday, December 4, Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, urged the children to utilise the facilities and learn all they can about their culture, adding that the card is a first response to the deficit in cultural appreciation and understanding of the nation’s children and youth.
“The culture card is a bid to reset your approaches to culture, because we realise that in terms of our national reconstruction of respect and appreciation for our culture, it has to start with you and we want to ensure that all our children experience those elements of our Jamaican culture that will help you to become committed citizens of action to our nation,” she said.
Highlighting the importance of culture, she noted that it “has transcended class, language and race, and one of the benefits that we have as Jamaicans, is that regardless of who we are or where we come from, we do not suffer the same kind of perils as other cultures do, because of religion, class, ethnicity or money. We can all live in unity of purpose.”
She explained that the first phase of the programme seeks to: broaden the exposure of children from the inner-city or deprived situations; give access to children and their parents who would otherwise not attend cultural activities, due to poverty or the lack of affordability; enhance the appreciation of different genres in the cultural sphere; and break down cultural barriers.
Outlining the selection process, Ms. Hanna said that schools were asked to select 25 students each – five from each grade – with a mix of criteria, including students with a definite interest in culture.
“Students who have not shown any particular inclination towards culture were selected, as well as students who have achieved high academic standards, for whom the culture cards are offered as incentives. One parent or a caregiver for each student will also be included in the pilot which will run for the next two school terms,” she said.
The Minister said it is hoped that through the utilization of the cards, students will also want to venture into professions that focus on culture.
Ms. Hanna informed that at the end of the pilot, the Ministry will assess the programme to determine its impact on the students, their parents and perhaps even their communities.
“We will want to hear from you young people about the experience. Tell us the good things. Tell us the bad things. And, let us build this initiative together,” she added.
Meanwhile, Principal Director of Culture in the Ministry, Dahlia Harris, said the Ministry is in dialogue with other production companies in the areas of arts and culture to bring them on board as partners in this venture.