Teachers report success with musical human rights education

Guyana Chronicle
November 12, 2002

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TEACHERS involved in human rights education through music last week reported success in the variety of ways by which a previously produced cassette was promoted and utilised both in classes and school choirs.

They said the more enterprising among them were able to persuade radio and television show hosts to broadcast the recording and Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) have responded very positively to the songs, particularly ‘Take Care of The Children’, ‘Don't Waste Your Time At School’ and ‘Na Lick Dem Pickney’.

A release said special efforts have been made to make the kit available to schools in Upper Mazaruni and South Rupununi and every school in Region Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo) has received one and has been teaching HRE songs.

The release said, with assistance from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), additional kits were reproduced and distributed by April 2002 in schools across the 10 Administrative Regions and the songs have been sung at PTA meetings, award ceremonies, speech days, graduation exercises, Guyana Teachers' Union (GTU) events, international/regional educational and cultural conferences and school assemblies.

While the unavailability of tape recorders is a problem in some areas, the songs were attractive to schoolchildren and, once the kit became available, the students learnt and sang them both in and out of school.

Against that background of encouragement, participants at an October 3 and 4 workshop, held at National Centre for Education Research and Development (NCERD) in Kingston, Georgetown, worked on some new songs pertaining to discrimination and HIV/AIDS, which were particularly popular, resulting in the production of ‘AIDS Is a Killer’ and ‘Stop Discrimination’.

The release said, in keeping with the overall thrust of promoting rights-based education, the specific goal of HRE music teachers is to ensure that relevant material is integrated into the production of a new curriculum.

This process, coordinated by NCERD, is currently harmonising a range of questions, including human rights, citizenship, health and family life education into the national curriculum.

The statement said the workshop, at which promotion of human rights and resolving conflicts through music were two of the issues dealt with, brought back together 26 music teachers from nursery, primary and secondary schools with administrators and curriculum specialists. the majority of whom had originally collaborated in producing ‘Rights in Rhythms’, a joint HRE music kit with the audio cassette that was launched in September 2000 for use in schools.

Teachers from Regions Nine, One (Barima/Waini), Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam), Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Islands), Four (Demerara/Mahaica), Six (East Berbice/Corentyne), Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni) and 10 (Upper Demerara/Berbice), who participated in the October 3 and 4 sessions, focused on evaluating how effectively Rights in Rhythms and other HRE music are being integrated into the school curriculum, testing and refining compositions in progress and identifying priorities for future themes.

The statement said, because the workshop took place during 'Teachers Week', the opportunity was taken to acknowledge the invaluable work of recently retired Regional Education Officers, Mr Reginald Hoppie of Region Seven and Ms Constance Trim of Region Two.

Trophies and educational material were presented to the two HRE Regional Education Officers and they were praised in word and song for the commitment shown by them over the years, in ensuring that human rights education is taught and musical instruments are available in schools in their respective Regions.

At the close, workshop participants committed themselves to continue promoting the kits and completing the new compositions.

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