Health and Family Life Education critical to children development-Minister Henry tells Diplomatic Luncheon

Delivering the feature address at a diplomatic luncheon organized by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and (United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) UNAIDS at the Herdmanston Lodge, Minister of Education Hon Nicolette Henry said empowering young people with skills for healthy living is critical to their holistic development.

Minister Henry said Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) encapsulates the required body of knowledge in a comprehensive life-skill educational programme that can be integrated across the curriculum of primary and secondary schools.

Further minister believes that this programme (HFLE) will enable teachers to reinforce positive behaviours that young people are expected to adopt and display. Additionally, the HFLE programme will provide opportunities to increase awareness while ensuring students have a safe and open environment in which they can address a range of issues affecting them.

Moreover, Minister Henry said through the HFLE curriculum, the Ministry of Education (MoE) is able to examine and introduce topics such as human sexuality and the prevention of unplanned pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Additionally, she told the diplomats that the curriculum is designed to help students make the best choices for themselves based on their own context and situations.

The education Minister said that it is no secret that adolescents and young people are confronted with a multiplicity of options that increase social pressures which require sound social, cognitive, and emotional coping skills.

“The education system is ideally situated to support other stakeholders in equipping students with the skills required to make healthy and productive lifestyle choices”. Minister Henry opined. It is this, according to the Minister of Education that validates the relevance of the MoE’s HFLE programme and its importance to the education process.

Notwithstanding the aforementioned, Ms Henry said that it is acknowledged that gaps still exist in relation to this programme. Towards this end, Minister Henry said it is imperative that the local HFLE programme be more fully in line with international standards for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE).

With this in mind Minister Henry said the support of donor and the international community is vital in partnering with the MoE and the government of Guyana in reducing the impact of social challenges on Guyanese communities.

According to Ms Henry the progress we are beginning to see in this regard is the direct result of the commitment to good governance, good policies and collaboration. The MoE has been placing greater emphasis on the HFLE programme in schools with a view of churning out rounded children. (Brushell Blackman)