BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS- As part of its mission, the Ministry of Education wants to ensure that the island’s school children are fully exposed to African culture.
During her address at the launch of the Nelson Mandela Essay Competition at Prime Minister’s Office Division of Culture in Sky Mall, Chief Education Officer, Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw, outlined the initiative.
This year, Nelson Mandela Day will be observed on July 18 as part of the season of emancipation, which runs from April 14 to August 31.
The Minister expressed concern that students should learn about their African ancestry and heritage. Mrs. Archer-Bradshaw stated that her ministry was ‘keenly’ aware of the importance of this.
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.”
As part of the Ministry’s commitment to heritage and culture, the Chief Education Officer pointed out partnerships with the Division of Culture and the National Cultural Foundation’s (NCF) Schools’ Steel Pan Programme, which teaches students to play steel pans in schools across the island.
Mrs. Archer-Bradshaw also mentioned the NCF’s Costume Making Workshops in some primary and secondary schools, as well as the agency’s involvement with the Junior Calypso Monarch competition over the years.
She noted that those partnerships, as well as civics on the primary and secondary curricula, will “not only ground students in their Barbadian identity, but will provide them with an understanding of global citizenship”.
Senate John King, Government’s Special Advisor on Culture and Heritage, said it was important for students to participate in the Season of Emancipation, and that the essay competition was a chance for them to learn about African history because most history is taught about Britain in schools.
Among the prizes, the winner and a parent will go to South Africa; the second prize will be an iPhone and a tablet, and the third prize will be $500. The competition is open to all secondary school students, and each school may submit two entries by the deadline of Friday, June 24.