By Machela Osagboro
Colourful performances by primary and secondary schools across Antigua filled the auditorium at All Saint’s Secondary School yesterday.
The Ministry of Education staged its annual Literary Festival and it saw young pupils performing poems like, “I Like Noise” and “Drums”, and older youngsters showcasing dramatised pieces.
This year’s festival operated under the banner ‘Literacy, a common need beyond time, beyond boundaries’ and was staged in an effort to develop well-rounded students.
Event organiser and education officer, Desryn Collins, said “the aim of the literacy festival is to highlight literacy, and we do this by posing a challenge to the students to prepare for a number of events including dramatisation of something that they have read.”
She said organisers wanted pupils to “gain a greater meaning from the prose” they were reading and also to practice enunciation skills, team work and “all of the skills that are possible when students are engaged with the spoken word because not everything can maybe be done within the confines of the classroom”.
One student described the event as “fun” because “we get to see our classmates on stage, and be away from school for a day”. Another added, “it’s nice to see other students perform and the plays are funny”.
One teacher said that his primary school students gained a lot of experience in public oration and proper conduct in a public space. He said the festival “encourages them to step out more and help them get a better appreciation for things like poetry”.
He added, “for some of them this is the first time that they are interacting with students from other schools and so the world opens up. I think they learned how to interact and it was a good lesson in terms of public behaviour.”
Participating schools included St Andrew’s, Golden Grove Primary, All Saint’s Secondary, Christ the King High School, St John’s Lutheran, Island Academy and Antigua Grammar School.
Teachers were also included in the festival’s scope. A reading strategies workshop was aimed at those who teach social studies, history and the sciences.
Collins added that teachers “leave the workshop feeling better able to help students to gather meaning from text”.
The festival’s sponsor, Hodder Education, gave prizes in the form of school stationery to performing groups.