From left to right – CARICOM Ambassador David Comissiong; Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Culture, Senator Dr. Shantal Munro-Knight; and Principal, Mitchelle Maxwell, enjoying the festivities at the Springer Memorial School’s Cultural Extravaganza Day and launch of a costume band, today. (M. Elcock/BGIS)

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Culture, Senator Dr. Shantal Munro-Knight, wants to see more emphasis being placed on the positive aspects of the educational system.

She made this plea today while delivering the feature address at Springer Memorial School’s Cultural Extravaganza Day and launch of a costume band, under the theme Tolerance and Diversity, at the Government Hill, St. Michael institution.

Minister Munro-Knight, an alumnus of the school, was critical of those who “highlight everything that is, or that we believe is not correct in the educational system”, be it educational reform, or the lost generation of youth who are not steadfast, committed and not doing as well as they should.

She proffered: “When we have to be able to connect our young people to their identity, it suggests that we understand very fundamentally that the reform is not just a moment…  It is how we teach; it’s in the sacrifice of our teachers.  I want to say to you that one thought on the day was not just about costumes, not just about the children looking pretty but think about the hours of work and sacrifice of teachers and you tell me that we do not have teachers that are about investing in our children?”

The Minister told the audience that the colourful costumes depicting the band’s four sections – the African, Asian, East Indian and European – reflected cultural diversity, and praised Principal Mitchelle Maxwell and all involved for “grounding the event” in the Season of Emancipation.

Senator Munro-Knight pledged that for next year’s celebrations, the Division of Culture would be “more intentional to ensure that other schools across Barbados also celebrate the Season of Emancipation in the way that we have done so today”. 

She added: “And I hope that we can appreciate today that what you have done, Madam Principal, should be an exemplar for our entire educational system and for us as Barbadians to be encouraged that our educational system is not in peril.”

The Minister noted that with Barbados becoming a republic, the Season of Emancipation encouraged persons to reflect on their colonial past; confront the challenges and celebrate the victories. 

Springer Memorial students in the Africa section of the costume band Tolerance and Diversity. (M . Elcock/BGIS)

She acknowledged that the school’s achievements, over the years, were testament to its outstanding leadership, and encouraged the students to continue the excellent tradition of the school.

During the proceedings, the students paraded their costumes in the school’s auditorium much to the delight of teachers, students, old scholars, former employees and other specially invited guests.

The day was also punctuated by performances from Deacon Elect of the Sons of God Apostolic Spiritual Baptist Church, Winston Alexander; the Israel Lovell Foundation, and a negro spiritual entitled: His Eye is on the Sparrow, rendered by Fifth Year student, Kenola Greenidge.

Teacher Abigail Williams, accompanied by the Barbados Police Service, performed a medley of gospel and traditional folk songs.

CARICOM Ambassador David Comissiong reminisced about the heroics of our ancestors and the need to pay homage to their struggles and victories over the plantocracy.

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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