History as a discipline has three aspects – its content, its organising principles and its methods of enquiry. The substantive content of Caribbean History is the activities of the peoples of the islands from the Bahamas to Trinidad as well as those of the peoples of Belize and the Guianas, from the coming of the indigenous Americans to 1985. There is no attempt in this syllabus to promote one organising principle or interpretation of Caribbean History. While a thematic arrangement has been imposed on the course of Caribbean History, the content within each theme has been stated in such a way as to permit exploration of a variety of organising principles. Nevertheless, the selection of themes and their content has been informed by a desire to promote a distinctly Caribbean perspective. This perspective acknowledges the need for a respect of human life and a cultural heritage that values harmony and cherishes diversity as a strength.
The syllabus aims to:
- develop knowledge and understanding of the experiences of the peoples of the Caribbean;
- develop an appreciation of the creative contributions of individuals and groups in their own territory and in other territories of the Caribbean;
- sensitise students to the concerns peculiar to their own territory and the circumstances which shaped them;
- produce students who will have faith in their own abilities and capabilities;
- facilitate a willingness by students to consider new ideas and points of view;
- encourage tolerance of the viewpoints, beliefs and ways of life of other peoples;
- stimulate sensitivity to the social, economic and political issues, conflicts and achievements in Caribbean life;
- encourage students to examine and explore their attitudes and values and those of others in relation to the Caribbean historical experience;
- encourage students to express their own points of view on matters of national and regional concern;
- stimulate a willingness and a desire to read historical material on their own initiative as a leisure time activity or to update information.