The inclusion of Social Studies as a part of general education in the secondary school curriculum derives from the assumption that adequate provision should be made for enabling students to gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes for effective social participation.
Effective social participation should:
- be based on accurate and relevant information about a particular issue or set of issues;
- be sensitive to values;
- be informed by a sense of commitment to the development of the community;
- stem from a deliberate choice of ways and means to accomplish a clearly perceived objective.
Social Studies contributes to the effective development of the learner by increasing personal and social awareness, and by placing emphasis on values as well as on social and interpersonal relationships. In addition, it introduces students to concepts from the various social science disciplines and enables them to appreciate the significance of these experiences as they seek to understand more about themselves and the complex social relationships of which they are a part. An interpretation of this kind makes the Social Studies programme not only relevant to the learners but also facilitates the smooth transition of the student from secondary to tertiary education and to the wider society.
This syllabus seeks to ensure that students develop the necessary skills and at the same time introduces them to knowledge of social phenomena that may enhance their effectiveness as social participants in the Caribbean community. It is also intended that, through the syllabus, the process of valuing would be made conscious so that persons become aware of their position, thus enabling them to bring conscious criteria to bear on their choices as social participants. This area of study, in keeping with the UNESCO Pillars of Learning, will also equip students to think logically and critically, as well as enhance their human relation skills. Although the main focus of the syllabus is the Caribbean, opportunities have been provided for the treatment of international issues which have a bearing on Caribbean development.
The syllabus aims to:
1. develop an appreciation for self as active, responsible and reflective members of society;
2. encourage respect for the differences of opinion, lifestyle and cultural practices;
3. develop an appreciation for one’s own cultural heritage and cultivate tolerance for the cultural heritage of others;
4. develop social and life skills important for social interaction;
5. develop an appreciation for the environment and contribute towards its sustainability;
6. adapt to the changing social, economic, political and technological forces in the country, region and the world