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Education Minister Highlights Importance of Jamaica Day


JIS: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says the annual Jamaica Day is designed to contribute to citizen education, enhance the appreciation for Jamaica’s rich heritage and culture, and build a positive identity in students.


Speaking at the launch of the event on January 24 at the Pavilion, Hope Botanical Gardens in Kingston, the Minister said as Jamaicans celebrate the good and positive things about the country, “we must also confront those things that are negative”.


“We have a serious social and cultural deficit that needs to be addressed if we are to move forward as a country,” Senator Reid emphasised. Jamaica Day, which is celebrated on the last Friday in February annually, is designated to showcase aspects of Jamaica’s culture through the performing arts, visits to historical sites, sporting activities and recognition of outstanding citizens.


All themes for Jamaica Day over the years begin with two words – ‘Celebrating Jamaica’. This year’s theme is ‘Celebrating Jamaica: Nurturing our Cultural and Natural Heritage’. Chairman of the Jamaica Day Planning Committee and Senior Education Officer in the Core Curriculum Unit at the Ministry, Marlon Williams, said that the ‘Day’ is one of the flagship projects of the Culture in Education Programme.


“In nurturing our cultural and natural heritage, we want our schools and students to mount displays and have conversations about food, arts, indigenous plants, protection of the environment, among other issues,” he said.


Schools at all levels of the education system are urged to engage all students, staff and community in planning the Day’s activities. They are also being encouraged to involve the Civic Affairs Committee, the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) and the Social Development Commission (SDC) regional offices, as well as parish libraries, churches, corporate Jamaica and community-based groups.


Meanwhile, Principal Director, Culture and Creative Industries Policy Division at the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Dr. Janice Lindsay, who brought greetings on behalf of Portfolio Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, said that symbolism of the day is resonating across the length and breadth of the island.


Students of  the National Water Commission (NWC) Co-op Credit Union Basic School and the New Day Primary and Junior High, listen to Education Outreach Officer of the Natural History Museum at the Institute of Jamaica, Eartha Cole, as she explains content of brochures on display.  Occasion was the launch of Jamaica Day 2018, on January 24 at the Hope Botanical Gardens, in Kingston.


“Perhaps one of the greatest success stories of the Day is that the spirit in which we observe the day has gone beyond our educational institutions and is now embraced by all Jamaicans,” she said.


The official Jamaica Day celebration will take place at Munro College in St. Elizabeth. Within the six Educational Regions one school will also be selected to be the focus institution for the day.


CAPTION: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, giving the keynote address at the launch of Jamaica Day 2018, on January 24 at the Hope Botanical Gardens, in Kingston.