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The launch of the Collins History book

Dr. Nicole Phillip-Dowe – seen signing a copy of her book at the official launch

The Collins Junior History book has now officially been introduced as a lower secondary school level textbook by local Author and Historian, Dr. Nicole Phillip-Dowe.

She launched her new book, ‘Collins Junior History of Grenada’ at the Grenada Trade Center Annex on September 5.

The book has now been added to the upper primary and lower secondary school curriculum.

Dr Phillip-Dowe announced that the launch of the Collins History book forms part of the University of the West Indies’ 75th anniversary celebration and that the launch is also in celebration of Grenada’s 50th anniversary of Independence.

She told the gathering that the text for the book has been years in the making.

“The idea of a history textbook was discussed with the Ministry of Education and a group of history lecturers and authors about 20 years ago. Unfortunately, the idea fell by the wayside.”

Dr. Phillip-Dowe noted that having seen a similar history textbook for Jamaica, she was emboldened to attempt one for Grenada.

She revealed that she had the liberty of working with Collins on social studies textbooks in the past and appreciated their unique style of presentation and approached them to work on a similar text for Grenada.

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell who attended the ceremony said he hopes that the launch of the Collins History book will create a generation that has a past and a future.

He expressed a feeling of extreme privilege to be part of this event which celebrates the dedicated work of a great Grenadian historian.

PM Dickon Mitchell acknowledged his familiarity with the subject of History and asserted that Dr. Phillip-Dowe is well known as one of the most reputed historians as she has shown in recent times that history can be used to galvanise support behind causes like the need for retaliatory justice arising from the Atlantic slave trade and slavery itself, colonialism “and all of the challenges that we still face from that era.”

“I once taught history and I knew that sometimes kids struggle with the idea that history was indeed boring and I can say Dr. Dowe has shown beyond a doubt that it is not and I hope it makes more historians out of all of us and more historians out of our students in school,” he said.

The Prime Minister was hopeful that the book will prove “to be a portal to our celebrated past and the window to our bright future.”

He felt that students will now gain knowledge of Grenada’s rich history in print form and he hopes that the text will in time be accessible electronically which will further enrich the teaching in upper primary and lower secondary classrooms.

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“I do believe the book will become a medium for sparking thoughtful conversations and discussions both in and out of our classroom,” he told the audience.

The Grenadian leader stressed that enhancing “our student’s achievement is paramount and it requires not just ensuring that our citizens have an academic appreciation of our history but more importantly that we instill in them a sense of nationalism, patriotism, and Grenadian pride.”

He gave assurances that the 14-month old Congress government remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring that students and the adult population “understand our history as well as to ensure that we continue to build a sense of national pride, and patriotism, in the way we view ourselves and the way we view our country.”

Permanent Secretary with responsibility for Education, Elvis Morain explained that the textbook is fulfilling one of CARICOM’s initiatives to have local history taught in schools.

“I am happy to say as well that the CARICOM department has commenced and almost went through with developing a curriculum guide for this text. Commencing this year we have introduced history at the lower secondary (levels) school that is Form 1 and Form 2 and the text will also be used as a resource material for the Primary schools,” he said.

PS Morain believes Grenadians cannot continue “to be ignorant of our history so we have to teach and be aware as well as (to) pass it onto the future.”

The Coordinator of Caribbean Civilisation at the Mona UWI Campus in Jamaica, Dr. Candia Mitchell-Hall, joined online to give her review on the Collins junior history of Grenada.

“What I experienced was the shared delight and excitement as the book resonates with my background as a Grenadian daughter of the soil and teacher of History and memory whose formative experience in studying and teaching history was shaped at the T.A Marryshow Community College and St. Joseph Convent Grenville. At that time as now none of the books we studied or used in the teaching of the subject presented history from a Grenadian lens.”

Dr. Hall went on to say that history has not been taught in some schools at the lower secondary level for 20 years and applauded Dr. Phillip-Dowe for authoring the Collins history textbook for Grenadians especially for the students and teachers.

A representative from Collins Publishers, Michael Philbert who gave brief remarks at the book launch disclosed that Dr. Phillip-Dowe joins a group of outstanding Grenadian authors from George Brizan’s epic Grenada of Conflict written more than 20 years ago.

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