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TTUTA laments dead kids

By MIRANDA LA ROSE Friday, June 6 2014

Starting in September, at the opening of the new school term, Health and Family Life Education, (HFLE) incorporating three components of sex education, will be taught in all primary and secondary schools up to Form Three. The new move is a bid to counter underage, adolescent and teenage pregnancies.

The introduction of HFLE in all schools, Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh told the media at yesterday’s post-Cabinet press conference was “a major component in the thrust towards reduction and prevention of adolescent, underage and teenage pregnancies.”

In schools where the subject was already being taught, he said that will continue. Aspects of the subject, and sex education were already being taught as part of the regular curriculum in all schools, he noted, but not as a subject.

The ministry did not introduce the subject fully in all schools, he explained, because some of the schools had teachers who were not adequately trained. Because of competence it was introduced in some 50 to 100 schools.

The HFLE curriculum for the primary schools, he said has already been fully developed since the reform of the primary school curriculum. Work was now underway on a secondary curriculum reform and HFLE, he said “is strongly embedded in that curriculum.”

Teachers who have already been trained will be retrained, and training will continue over the next three months, he assured. The decision to introduce HFLE in all schools was taken by the ministry at a meeting with boards of denominational schools on Wednesday. This, he explained, on the basis that over 2,000 students under the age of 19 gave birth to babies annually.

Representatives of the United Nations Family Planning Association also made a presentation at the meeting, he added.

Asked about the reaction from the denominational boards to introduce HFLE in all schools, Gopeesingh said there were varying thoughts.

“They were not in agreement in the context of raw sex education,” he said “but in the wider context of Health and Family Life Education.”

The denominational boards, he said asked for some consideration in the implementation of the programme in their schools and for their teachers to be subjected to what their religion allows.

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