The value of books and literacy was underscored during a recent ceremony marking the presentation of books to the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology’s (SJPI) Media Resource Centre by Barbadian authors Dr. Yvonne Weekes, Jeff Broomes, and John Roett.
Education Officer, Planning, Research and International Relations, with the Ministry of Education, Kaylene Kellman-Holder, told the audience that literature plays a critical role in the lives of students as it not only provides information and entertains but also allows them to explore their imagination.
“Books assist in increasing the intelligence, [improving] memory and vocabulary and assist in developing analytical skills. Such skills are the true mark of literacy; the foundation upon which several 21st-century skills are built,” she said, adding that the Ministry was committed to ensuring students were prepared for the modern world.
As she commended the authors for their donation, Mrs. Kellman-Holder stated: “These books are very critical to the development of our country and this is especially true when books reflect the life in the country of the writer and the reader, so it is critical that our students have things with which they can identify.”
The Education Officer also reminded persons that despite the evolution into a digital world, literature remained a necessary tool.
“One can now go online and access almost any piece of literature or information. As a consequence, reading habits have changed over the last decade, where students and readers, in general, have gravitated toward digital versions of the material. However, digital books must still be written by an author and hard copies would therefore continue to play a critical role in the lives of individuals.”
Chairman of the Board at the SJPI, Shelton Perkins, shared a similar view, as he highlighted the need for students to have access to more locally produced literary work, which captures the essence of Barbadian society.
He added that it was his hope that the donation would serve as “the inspiration for and the beginning of the populating of this and other local resource centres and libraries with the works of our own people, with the intention of expanding knowledge, and broadening horizons, especially for our youth”.
The books donated to the SJPI were: Disaster Matters by Dr. Yvonne Weekes, The West Indian Cricket Journey and Its Barbadian Influence by Jeff Broomes, and Backstage Pass written by John Roett. (BGIS)