The Ministry of Education and Youth has mandated schools to use civics and character education as a means of shaping and instilling positive behaviour and attitudes in Jamaican students.
Portfolio Minister, Fayval Williams, made the disclosure as she addressed the Jamaica Day celebration at the St. Catherine-based Dinthill Technical High School on Friday (March 3).
“A focus on character education includes how we treat people on the road as pedestrians and motorists, how we handle disputes among ourselves, how we handle customers in our various places of business, how we treat the elderly and most vulnerable in our midst, and how much we respect our laws and civic responsibilities,” she said.
Jamaica Day, which is a major event on the annual education calendar, encourages students to participate in activities designed to contribute to citizenship education, strengthen the appreciation for Jamaica’s rich heritage and culture and build a positive identity as Jamaicans.
“The celebrations of Jamaica Day reinforce an awareness of the many strands of our cultural heritage. That includes how we treat the environment, the degree to which we respect time and affirm the value and worth of other people,” Williams said.
She noted that this year’s theme, ‘Celebrating Jamaica: From the Root to the Fruit’, highlights the connection between the seeds that are placed in the ground and the plants and trees that grow from them.
“The seeds are both literal and figurative. The seeds you plant in studying, in training and in the attitudes you cultivate, will produce a bigger plant of one kind or another. We want you to plant good seeds,” Williams said.
She noted that schools across the island have an opportunity to highlight the Jamaica Day theme in their own way, and each year, an institution from a different region is featured.
This year, three institutions from Region 6 were selected. They are Troja Primary, Dinthill Technical High and St. Catherine High schools, which mounted displays showcasing the talents of students in areas such as art, science, and food and nutrition, while regaling the audience with cultural performances in dance, music and poetry.
Williams said that the displays align with the Ministry’s focus on promoting students’ use of project-based learning to demonstrate core values.
“This will help to highlight the process through which products are developed as well as how people maximise their true potential through positive processes. This ties in with the wider society’s efforts at exploring best practices, innovations and current trends that have an impact on nation-building,” she added.
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