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Fraser-Pryce: 'Never imagined school devotion would become debatable in Jamaica'

Published:Tuesday | January 20, 2015 | 11:50 AM
Screenshot taken from Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce's Facebook account.

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

Jamaica’s Olympic and World Championships star, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, has reacted with shock to questions being raised about devotions in public schools being mandatory.

In an interview with The Gleaner in the soon-to-be-published Online current affairs programme, On The Record, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites said his ministry supports schools that make it mandatory for students to attend devotions and mainly Christian activities.

However, the National Parent-Teacher Association of Jamaica says it has not settled on an official position on whether schools should make it mandatory for students to participate in religious activities.

READ: Parent teachers' association undecided over mandatory devotions

But president of the association, Everton Hannam, says he believes that schools should not make it compulsory.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Fraser-Pryce said she never imagined that school devotions would become debatable in Jamaica.

Many of her fans blamed what they call the 'Americanisation' of Jamaica questions being raised about the longstanding practice of devotions in schools.

In declaring his support of mandatory religious activities, Thwaites said Jamaican life is fundamentally based on a Christian heritage.

Education Minister Ronald Thwaites

He says religious exposure is important to reinforce social values, build ethical structures and keep the society together.

In a controversial article published in The Gleaner in 2013, youth development and human rights advocate Jaevion Nelson argued that devotions in schools are problematic, claiming that it's impossible to cater to all beliefs and the many Christian perspectives.

READ: Don't force children to pray to your 'God'

The issue of devotions in schools was also raised in public discussions after the Jamaica Urban Transit Company ruled that preaching on its buses was violating regulations.

READ: One stop, preacher! - Gospel banned on JUTC buses


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