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A glimpse of Colombian life

A transitional project for Whitburn schools embraces the Shared Responsibility campaign. Julia Horton reports

A transitional project for Whitburn schools embraces the Shared Responsibility campaign. Julia Horton reports

Pupils who have just moved from primary to secondary school in Scotland showcased a transitional learning project on Colombia last week as part of a campaign to combat cocaine wars.

The children started the work in P7 at Whitburn cluster schools when they produced detailed fact files about Colombia, exploring the South American country's culture, lifestyle and landscape. Lessons also included a focus on the dangers of drugs such as cocaine.

The second stage of the project, while the pupils moved up to secondary school, looked in greater depth at Colombia. Children learnt some Spanish, explored Colombian culture in more detail and covered the effects that the cocaine industry has on day-to-day life there.

Now in S1, pupils will be involved in lessons that aim to show them how aspects of Colombian culture can affect life in Scotland.

The project is part of a Shared Responsibility campaign, launched by Colombian authorities to help combat the devastating impact of the ongoing drugs wars.

The First Secretary of the Colombian Embassy, Rodrigo Paris, attended the recent showcase event at Whitburn, at which pupils played in a samba band and prepared Colombian food.

Whitburn is the latest Scottish school to support the Shared Responsibility campaign. Others have included Girvan Academy in South Ayrshire, which was last year hailed as an "excellent example" of what schools around the world can achieve.

Pupils at the academy produced a DVD about cocaine use in Scotland, interviewing politicians and former addicts and presenting issues including the plight of Colombians caught in the fighting.

The ongoing civil war in Colombia began as a bid by rebels to improve life for poor people but descended into a drugs war in which they fight for control of lucrative coca plantations.

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