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JIS News

Jamaica Day 2011 will be celebrated on Friday, February 25 with a potpourri of activities in schools islandwide under the theme – ‘Celebrating Jamaica: Feasting on our Heritage'.

Director, Culture in Education Programme, in the Ministry of Education,

Mrs. Amina Blackwood Meeks, told JIS News that, "Jamaica Day 2011, is for us, a very exciting project to be working on. Every year we have a different theme and this year the theme touches so many different aspects of the curriculum and so many different aspects of our national life and culture."

"As a people we like to eat and we are blessed to have so many different kinds of culinary treats from so many different aspects of our culture…so we want our students to understand the foods we eat and the history and sociology that is tied up in all these foods. Secondly, what is the technology that is linked to the way foods are prepared. How did that technology emerge? How has it changed and why and what is the impact of these changes on the culture?" she said.

Mrs. Blackwood Meeks also emphasised that one of the objectives of Jamaica Day is to ensure that all stakeholders understand the importance of food security.

"We want our children and the entire nation to understand that the whole business of our food security is in our hands. We also want our students and our people to get an understanding or deepen their understanding on the role of agriculture in our economic and social well being and we want, very critically, to grow our respect for the people who work on the land to feed us," she argued.

She pointed out that parents, vendors, students and other stakeholders are usually very excited about the Jamaica Day celebrations.

"We have been overwhelmed. There are people who now tell us that they know when it is Jamaica Day, because they see all the students going to school in their Jamaica colours and that's just one symbolic representation. But we have schools where the parents and the vendors get involved in Jamaica Day and those schools report to us that, as a result of Jamaica Day, they have deepened their association with the communities", she noted.

According to Mrs. Blackwood Meeks, the activities for Jamaica Day will vary depending on the size of the school, where it is located and the available resources.

"As a result, some schools will have an extended devotion and a lecture or panel discussion and that's their Jamaica Day at the minimum. At maximum, some schools have their flag raising ceremonies, they invite other schools to come in and participate with them, and they have displays, panel discussions, and a closing activity which can be anything from a concert to an awards ceremony," she  explained.

Sydney Pagon Agricultural High School in St. Elizabeth will be the focus school this year, due to its close links with the Jamaica Day theme.

CONTACT: ODETTE BARRON