Published on August 2nd, 2017 | by The Trinidad Guardian


Take steelpan to Africa schools

Government wants the Pan in Schools project to go Africa, Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon says. She made the disclosure at the 17th Annual Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Symposium at the Hilton Trinidad, Port-of-Spain, on Monday, telling the Emancipation Support Committee executive she planned to follow up on this initiative. Saying pan is not present in Africa, Gopee-Scoon said she wanted to see more of T&T’s culture going into Africa. Comparing the deepening of T&T’s footprint into Africa last year with this year, she said the momentum has been “tremendous.”

“Our pan though, is not evident enough in Africa and I know that there is some movement in that area, Nigeria and little bit of it in Ghana. Our pan in the classrooms, there should be pan in every classroom in Africa,” she said. “We should be exporting our pan instrument into Africa. That’s the kind of movement, and those are the kinds of conversations that we ought to be having. “I am going to be behind you (Khafra Kambon) I want to see greater movement, I want to see more momentum, I really do want to see our steelband in the classrooms in Africa on the curriculum in Africa and our pans in Africa. I am going to be very focused and I am going to ask Minister of Culture to be engaged with Dr Mohamed Chambas (UN Secretary General Special Representative and head of the UN Office for West Africa and Sahel) before he leaves.”

The “Pan in Schools” project is an initiative of the Ministry of Education and officially began its work in 2003. According to its website, some of the achievements it can boast of include providing over 150 schools with sixteen-piece steelband ensembles and training over 250 primary and secondary teachers in utilising the steelpan to implement the music curricula of T&T. In an interview with the media afterwards, Gopee-Scoon explained the rationale for wanting the national instrument to be taken to Africa. “The pan is our national instrument, why not take our culture to Africa, pan in the classroom can work then, we can certainly export our steelband instrument. We share our culture as well as our energy services.”

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