Caribbean education magazine launched

The first edition of a magazine designed to address illiteracy in the Caribbean particularly among children, by merging culture with education, was officially launched at the National Library, Guyana earlier this week.

Charlene Wilkinson

The publication entitled Educating the Caribbean Child: Reshaping the World is the brainchild of former Jamaican school teacher Tim Bailey and it is scheduled to be released on a quarterly basis.

Several of the region’s educators including the late former vice chancellor and Professor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies Rex Nettleford and University of Guyana language lecturer Charlene Wilkinson contributed pieces that were published in this inaugural edition. A high school student also expressed her experiences in an article entitled ‘Island Hopping’.

The profits from the magazine sales are to be used to fund student exchange programmes.
The first batch under the theme “Building Bridges” was released earlier this year and while efforts are still being made to introduce it to other Caribbean territories, it is available here at Austin’s Book Store at a cost of $1,600.

Wilkinson, during a recent interview with this publication said the magazine takes its imperative from the urgently felt need to foster, strengthen and deepen the unique, evolving Caribbean culture. She added that it is firmly rooted in community, and takes a bilateral approach which is educating the family while it works on modernizing the thinking and redefining the schools and the teachers and learners therein.

The cover of the magazine

Wilkinson sees the magazine as a platform for teachers’ ideas, highlighting and promoting best practice in the classroom; as an essential companion for teachers as well as administrators who seek to enhance their product in every area of curricular and extra-curricular activities.

During the interview, Wilkinson called on all teachers to come on board as this is an initiative that they cane benefit from. She expressed hope that stemming from the visions of the magazine teachers’ workshops – a forum where teachers can express their views will be held.  

Bailey’s goal was to present a magazine forum, where ideas relevant to the culture of the Caribbean and the world can meet as well as test priority themes as determined by readers (letters to the Editor) and teachers’ ideas, in community workshops involving teachers, parents and students, for community building.

Bailey, Wilkinson said, had a dream of creating a magazine when he retired from the teaching profession. To him this magazine was to give marginalized but potentially capable students space to express innovative methods in scholarship and community leadership, for wider educational purposes as well as enhance dialogue and cross fertilization between teachers, students, educational planners and parents throughout the Caribbean.
Wilkinson told The Scene, that it was as she was preparing to leave the island to return home, that Bailey expressed his desire for her help in making his dream a reality. Being an educator herself she saw it as a way to positively contribute to the educational system in the Caribbean.

In addressing the cost of the magazine which could be described as steep, Wilkinson said this was the lowest it could go when taking into consideration the cost to produce it.

Anyone who is interested in the magazine can also contact her on 642-5119 for more information.
The cover of this issue is particularly interesting as it displays the face of a child surrounded by 21 Caribbean flags.

Bailey in his editorial said that “It is mantra for a publication intent on bridging the gap between success and failure, power and powerlessness, knowledge and ignorance, inequities suffered by a group of people…”.
He noted that this publication challenges the “vestiges of enslavement and colonialism as seen in Caribbean schools”. He spoke extensively on these issues throughout the almost three page long editorial.
“It (this publication)  is committed to the view that the region’s growth, development and unity as one people lie in a new creative and emancipator education, one built on the pillar of critical knowledge which instructs teachers and students alike of their status as a group situated within a world with a special relationship to domination and subordination.”

On Tuesday, a medium size crowd including a few schoolchildren and educators turned up for the launching during which the views of the whole subject of education and culture were expressed.

Duane Edwards, a UG Sociology student, Vidyaratha Kissoon, a Help and Shelter worker and Bonita Harris, a renowned educator and consultant were the guest speakers.

The Guyana committee for the Caribbean Magazine comprises Wilkinson, Wendy Rodney, Edwards and Dr Christopher Carrico a UG lecturer. (zoisa_f@yahoo.com)

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