Saturday, 25 February 2017

NEWS FEED: Dr. Peter Phillips answers the ‘age’ question + New Tracks & Records opening in MoBay + JN project fuses schoolwork and dancehall

TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL: Columbia University professor Dr. Christopher Emdin (right) might be on to something via his Math and Science-meets-Dancehall brainchild, aimed at improving student performance (retention and application) in these core subjects at the local high school level, while reaffirming the notion that learning can be fun and effective when knowledge is combined with contemporary tools and styles. Jamaica National and, indeed, the Education ministry, have endorsed his proposal, launching a “Science Genius” project dubbed “Dancehall Ed” at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston earlier this week. Through the programme, Grade nine students and their teachers islandwide are invited to submit videos creatively conveying aspects of Mathematics and Science through song. The participants will later compete in clashes, and the best 20 will earn a spot in the project. All submissions are due by February 28. Students will receive mentorship from top dancehall artistes (including Tifa, who was present at the launch). Individual and collective prizes will be awarded, including the upgrading of science labs. “This will enhance and complement the National Standards Curriculum,” notes Floyd Green, state minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information. “What is important is the undoubted power dancehall has to connect and impact our young people. So the question is, how do we use it for good? Almost as soon as you put on a dancehall song, and it’s catchy and creative, the young people grasp it. Imagine if they can do that with scientific theory.” 

GLOBAL BRANDING: By 2023, about 15 outlets of the Usain Bolt’s Tracks & Records chain of restaurants should be in operation globally. That’s the promise from hotelier and noted businessman Chris Issa who, in partnership with the KLE Group, is opening a new UBTR in Montego Bay in July. Set to employ over 40 people, the restaurant will bring to three the number of UBTR eateries doing business locally. “We are looking forward to creating an amazing experience for all our hotel guests, tourists and locals alike,” Issa says. “For the visitors, we will employ strategies targeting the cruise ship passengers and hotel guests through a combination of direct channels, tour companies and transportation operators.” KLE operates the original UBTR restaurant, located at Marketplace (along Constant Spring Road in Kingston). The first franchise outlet, owned by Joshua Jhamnani, opened in the bustling tourist mecca of Ocho Rios last December. 

YEARS WITHOUT FEAR: When it comes to selecting persons for positions of national leadership, how important is the matter of age? How young is too young? How old is too old? According to Dr. Peter Phillips who, at age 67, is weeks away from succeeding Portia Simpson-Miller, 71, as Opposition Leader and head of the People’s National Party, the age factor carries very little weight. “What is significant is not the question of age,” he tells the Observer’s HG Helps, “but what the person stands for – the policies, the programmes, the personal qualities of integrity and representativeness of the aspirations of the people. And that’s how I’m proceeding.”

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