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.
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.
In keeping with the attributes of the Ideal Caribbean Person as articulated by CARICOM, this syllabus will contribute to the development of individuals who: are emotionally secure with a high level of self-confidence and self-esteem; see ethic, religious and other diversity as a source of potential strength and richness; are aware of the importance of living in harmony with the environment; have a strong appreciation of family and kinship values, community cohesion, and moral issues including responsibility for and accountability to self and community; have an informed respect for our cultural heritage; and value and display the creative imagination in its various manifestations and nurture its development in the economic and entrepreneurial spheres in all other areas of life (Caribbean Education Strategy, 2000). The continued development of the Caribbean region will depend on the individual’s understanding of his or her roles and responsibilities in families, groups, social institutions, government, sustainable development and use of resources, the regional integration process and global issues. These are critical to the individual’s personal development and the social, political and economic well-being of his or her country and region.
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.