Dr. Yvonne Weekes, author and lecturer at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus and co-editor of “Disaster Matters” presents a copy to the Chief Education Officer, Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw, at a recent handover ceremony at the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training (METVT), Elsie Payne Complex. (Photo: METVT)

Barbadians of all walks of life, including students, are being urged to be the author of their own stories.

The encouragement has come from Chief Education Officer, Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw, at a recent handover ceremony at the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Elsie Payne Complex, Constitution Road, St. Michael, that saw 12 secondary schools receiving copies of the text “Disaster Matters”, from its co-editor, Dr. Yvonne Weekes, author and lecturer at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.

Dr. Archer-Bradshaw stressed: “If we do not tell our story, someone, through their lens – clouded or otherwise – will tell it for us. So, I encourage you students, help us to tell our own stories.”

The Chief Education Officer gave the assurance that any donation of books that told the story of the Caribbean was welcomed by the Ministry.

She stressed that while it was important for our children to understand international perspectives on issues, it was “equally important for our students to understand and value the stories about us, by us”. 

While commending Dr. Weekes, her co-editor, Dr. Wendy McMahon, and the several authors, who contributed to the text, the Ministry official said: “Let us continue to work hard; let us all continue to work towards populating our educational repositories with indigenous works.”

The text “Disaster Matters” can be used as a resource to inform students about the nature of disasters experienced in the Caribbean, while also sensitising them about the consequences of these disasters and how the region can rebuild and mitigate against them. It offers schools an inter-disciplinary approach that can cover a range of disciplines such as English A and B, Theatre Arts, Social Studies, Geography, and Science.

Dr. Weekes, who disclosed that it was launching for the first time in Barbados, explained that it was an anthology of 52 Caribbean writers, some of whom were internationally known, while others were being published for the first time.

Pointing out that it was her privilege to expose new writers, she noted that they came from 19 territories including Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Vincent, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, The Bahamas, Sint Maarten and her homeland Montserrat.

Highlighting the importance of the anthology, she stated: “It’s bringing science and the arts together; it’s a study of how we look at hazards; how we look at developing a curriculum which isn’t myopic…. So, what we are trying to do with this text is to make sure that teachers from across the Caribbean understand ‘the imagination role’ in understanding the science.”

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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