Newtown Ground Primary School Students
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
November 24, 2008 (CUOPM)
Caribbean Ministers of Education at the recent meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) discussed several problems including health and family life education, women in science and technology and a regional framework for action for children.
The meeting in Guyana received a presentation of the CARICOM Science and Technology agenda which treated with issues related to Human Resource Development as well as continuing education and professional development; and placed focus on women in science and technology.
The presentation further explored research to enhance the teaching of science and technology particularly in adapting exploratory and experiential teaching strategies as well as revisiting the approach to setting exams in this discipline. The Meeting examined the framework and discussed its implications for education systems.
Within the framework of evaluating strong foundations for the future, the Meeting of the COHSOD examined the implementation of the Regional Framework for Action for Children.
The areas of emphasis within the Framework were outlined, including child protection, early childhood development, infant and maternal mortality, retention of children in school and respect for the rights of children.
The responsiveness of the framework to emerging needs and priorities was highlighted. In this regard, Ministers noted that recent emphasis on climate change had led to a focus on actions and concerns relevant to children facing emergencies.
The Meeting agreed that Member States should undertake national consultations to review their progress regarding the goals and targets set out in the Revised Framework and advised the CARICOM Secretariat of the actions taken to date to advance the goals outlined in the Framework.
The Meeting also addressed the problem of Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) in the context of a global and regional environment in which young people find themselves continuously at risk not only from health but also from social factors.
The Meeting heard the “voices of young people” as they candidly expressed their views of issues such as HIV and AIDS, sexuality, crime and violence, use of drugs and bullying. The general consensus was that keen attention should be paid to what these young people were saying and that programmes for Health and Family Life Education should be developed and implemented at all levels in order to address the moral decline that was evident in the society.
The Meeting agreed that implementation of effective programmes for HFLE should be a priority in the Region.