Making Culture a Mandatory Subject for Schools

Phipps has been a Drum Specialist at the Department of Culture since January 1st, 1999.

“Children today gravitate too much on the outside influences rather on their own, “Phipps said in an exclusive interview with, on Friday (23rd March, 2012).

Phipps is suggesting that Culture should be a part of the syllabus for schools, or as a mandatory extra curriculum activity, so that students can be taught at a young age about their culture, and appreciate it more than the outside influences. Phipps concluded that culture would be part of their primary learning, just as any other mandatory subjects.

“Culture is important just as any other subjects being taught today,” Phipps was quoted as saying.

Phipps told that their main focus is in the primary schools, since the children are our future. The Department of Culture visits 6 different primary schools daily, teaching students ‘The Arts of Drumming’ and ‘The Respect of the Art Form.’

Phipps further explained that more can be done. However, more facilities are required to make the work load lighter so that more visitations can be accommodated to other schools. He added that culture should not only be taught to students alone but to parents and the general public.

One of the initiatives that he spearheads, is an annual drumming recital, which is held in the summer and is known as ‘Heart Beat’. It is hosted at the Old Boy School Building, Victoria Road.  This year would make it 12 years since this recital was established.

Phipps saw the importance of this event since culture has always been in the ‘back seat.’  Last year’s focal point was ‘How did the Drums and Negro spiritual came about?’  This year, the focus will be ‘The Environment.’ “A positive message is always left for all in attendance,” Phipps stated with much confidence.

The Drum Specialist is encouraging residents to go out and enjoy the art forms and presentations being displayed by the children and himself at the Old Boy School, at a date to be fixed in June. He also indicated that the event will be free of charge.

Phipps grew up around culture practitioners as a child and developed a sincere appreciation for any aspect of culture. As he grew older he viewed culture more than just performing arts and practitioners. However he saw culture being displayed in the everyday activities in his life such as the braiding of the hair, types of food eaten, music listened to and the way in which Kittitians speak.

Phipps encourages young people to learn and embrace their culture more and teachers that are teaching culture continue to teach it since it is of significance.

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