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Director of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Professor Verene Shepherd, wants youth to advocate for Caribbean History to become compulsory past the ninth grade.
She was delivering the keynote address at the opening of the Yute X 2010 Conference, put on by the Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network (JYAN) at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, on Wednesday (November 24).
Speaking on the topic ‘You Can’t Hide the Truth From the Youth: Education and Advocacy in a Post-Colonial Society’, she stressed the importance of history in identity formation.
Professor Shepherd stated that the omission of history from the list of core compulsory subjects at the secondary level, was also contributing to the disregard for Jamaica’s cultural heritage displayed by many youth.
“We sometimes berate you (youth), we say you have no national pride, while we do nothing to foster such a pride,” she lamented.
The historian said it was time that adults, who understand the importance of history, provide youth with the tools to advocate for history education which, she believes, is an important part of development.
The biennial Yute X Conference is being held under the theme ‘Fullticipate to Elevate: Enhancing Development through Youth Participation’. It is part of the International Year of the Youth and Jamaica’s Youth Month activities, and is being staged by JYAN in collaboration with the National Centre for Youth Development and the Ashe Performing Arts Company.
Approximately 200 youths are expected to participate over the three days, during which issues such as crime and violence, youth sexuality, governance and youth advocacy will be discussed.