Health and Family Life Education is an exciting new course for Caribbean Secondary Schools. It addresses the needs of lower secondary students and teachers for a life-skills based course reflecting the CARICOM Regional Curriculum Framework document but also takes into account national syllabuses, such as those from Jamaica, Belize and Trinidad. Health and Family Life Education attempts to meet some of the challenges facing Caribbean societies today, including the HIV and AIDS epidemic, rising levels of violence, health and environmental problems. HIV in the Caribbean is increasing at a rate second only to sub-Saharan Africa and HFLE can be a major vehicle for preventive education in schools. Research has shown that life-skills education can positively affect behaviours such as high-risk sexual behaviours, drug abuse, anger and conflict management, and improve social responsibility and academic performance. It can increase awareness of the choices available and encourage responsible decision making.
The course is interactive and participatory, using mini-stories, case studies and other stimulus material, discussion, personal reflection and other activities to build on students' own experience and encourage them to take an active role in their communities. It aims to build healthy attitudes, motivation, values and life skills as well as teaching information, to enable students to cope better with the complex world in which they will operate as adults.