The Ministry of Education is aiming to ensure that the island’s school children are fully exposed to African culture.

Chief Education Officer, Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw, gave the undertaking yesterday as she addressed the launch of the Nelson Mandela Essay Competition, at the Prime Minister’s Office Division of Culture in Sky Mall.

Nelson Mandela Day will be observed on July 18 and is part of the Season of Emancipation, which runs from April 14 to August 31.

Mrs. Archer-Bradshaw told the gathering that the Ministry was “keenly” aware of the importance of building an awareness of African ancestry and heritage in students.

She added: “This essay competition, which focused on the life of Nelson Mandela and his contribution to the Advancement of Africa and Africans at home and abroad, presented a wonderful opportunity for our secondary students to research, reflect and become more engaged with reframing the ways in which Africa and Africans continue to make their mark on a global stage.”

The Chief Education Officer underscored the Ministry’s commitment to heritage and culture, pointing to partnerships with the Division of Culture, and the National Cultural Foundation’s (NCF) Schools’ Steel Pan Programme, which is teaching students to play the steel pans in select schools across the island.

Mrs. Archer-Bradshaw also mentioned the NCF’s Costume Making Workshop in some primary and secondary schools, and the agency’s involvement over the years in the Junior Calypso Monarch competition.

She noted that those partnerships, along with the implementation of Civics on the primary and secondary curricula, would “not only ground our students in their Barbadian identity but will prepare them for global citizenship”.

Meanwhile, Government’s Special Advisor on Culture and Heritage, Senator John King, said it was important for students to be involved in the Season of Emancipation, and the essay competition was an opportunity for them to be exposed to African history, adding that most of the history taught in schools was about Britain.

The first prize is a trip to South Africa for the winner and his/her parent; the second prize is a tablet and an iPhone and the third prize is $500. The competition is open to all secondary school students, and each school may submit two entries by Friday, June 24.


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