The Catholic Education Board of Management (CEBM) has asked the Education Ministry to introduce the pan manufacturing programme at St Francis Boys’ College, St Joseph’s College and Matelot Community School.
The request was made by CEBM Chief Executive Officer Sharon Mangroo.
“The programme is for secondary schools and will be certified as a Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ)” she said via email in response to questions from the Catholic News.
The principals of St Francis and Matelot Community schools are reportedly “thrilled at the prospect of being included” while St Francis looks forward to students already involved in pan playing development their talent and interest.
Mangroo said steel orchestra instruments have been given to primary schools and some RC primary schools have demonstrated “significant expertise” in playing the national instrument and steel pan music is included in the Visual and Performing Arts curriculum.
Mangroo continued, “The extension to include certification courses at secondary level takes this further and approaches the vision that Lloyd Best had for ‘School in Pan’.”
At a media briefing at the Education Towers, St Vincent Street February 26 to discuss issues in education, Martin Gibbs of the ministry’s communications department said seven government secondary schools: East Mucurapo Secondary, Mucurapo West Secondary, Bon Air Secondary, Goodwood Secondary (Tobago), Chaguanas North Secondary, San Fernando East Secondary and Toco, are currently involved in Steel Pan Manufacturing. It is a collaboration of the Pan in Schools Coordinating Council and MIC Institute of Technology (MIC).
Gibbs said the ministry was concerned that with the same names being heard as arrangers and tuners in the national Panorama there could be an “impediment to culture and to history” if young people are not aware and taking advantage of the opportunity to learn tuning and arranging.
The steel pan manufacturing course is divided into manufacturing and tuning. Level 1 focuses on sinking of the drum, creating grooves, cutting and burning of the pan, “actually create a steel pan”, Gibbs said.
After secondary school students can transition to Level 2, the pan-tuning journeyman programme with MIC. Gibbs said pan tuning requires a high level of skill acquired over time and through experience. More than 40 students are preparing to move on to Level 2 of the CVQ qualifications.
Gibbs said, “The ministry will explore all avenues to give young people the opportunity to develop themselves and Trinidad and Tobago. There is a possible talent deficit if we do not get young people involved in this now.” – LPG