Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS) — Traditionally, Independence serves as a time for reflection about the road travelled towards nationhood and the path of development that has followed. Chairperson of the Independence 32 Committee, Honourable Senator, Wendy Phipps, said while she was pleased with the observances for Independence 32, much more needed to be done to advance the discussion.
“What should be forthcoming from celebrations like Independence, even though they are limited to thirty days, should be a continuation of the national conversation that says we are here, we want to get from Point A to Point B [and] this is what it is going to take to get us there,” Senator Phipps said.
Ms. Phipps suggested one way to accomplish this was to have panel and other discussions in the community that allow for open exchanges and frank interactions involving persons from all spheres of life. This would be in keeping with the presentations held in September dubbed Independence Retrospective (1983-2015) and Independence Prospective “Quo Vadis” (2015 onward). The conversations were broadcast live on television and received positive reviews.
Another measure, which Senator Phipps was particularly passionate about, was curriculum review. The Education White Paper charts the agenda for the sector from 2009 to 2019. An Education Policy Review Mission was commissioned by the government in 2014 and spearheaded by UNESCO which engaged national stakeholders in setting policy recommendations specific to governance and curriculum components. The Independence chair stated that she was in favour of infusing the curriculum with more local history to educate the youth population.
“This is not to say that we are discounting the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) curriculum which we are guiding our children towards, but at the same time I don’t think it would be useful for us to be in pursuit of a CXC educational agenda without incorporation of where we fit in to that Caribbean ethos,” Senator Phipps said. “I think that is the ideal vehicle for us to look at in terms of getting our own people to write our own textbooks. There’s nothing stopping us from helping to contribute to the body of literature, the body of primary or empirical research in the region. … St. Kitts and Nevis is blessed to have brilliant minds among us. Some of our own people have worked for CXC as well and think it is that type of resource that we should be leveraging … so that we become more of a people that contribute to documenting and basically inculcating and also branding into our people where we have come from [and] where we want to get to.”
“I think it is incumbent on us to bequeath to our young people a future that is promising, bright and also a future that demands involvement and investment from them in order to get the type of future that they want for themselves and others after them,” Senator Phipps concluded.