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EDUCATION FOR ALL IN THE CARIBBEAN: ASSESSMENT 2000 MONOGRAPH SERIES 24 - page 29 / 44

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Programmes to Effect a Positive Approach Towards Health, Attitudes, and Values in the General Adult Population

Data were not obtained on the programmes geared towards health education and the development of positive values and attitudes in St. Lucia. What is certain, however, is that plans are being made by the Adult Education Unit to put such programmes in place, as reflected in its plans for expansion. As stated in its EFA country report, “the proposal will include a more comprehensive, integrated adult education programme with a greater emphasis on development rather than remediation.”

Programmes to Effect a Positive Approach Towards Health, Attitudes, and Values in the Prison Population

While there may not be much emphasis on values and attitude in the prison system, there has been a significantly different approach to health. In fact when, in the 1990s, the government facilitated an intense investigation into the prison system, a major focus was on “illegal drugs, HIV and AIDS and the impact on the prison population.” Some of the recommendations were, in fact, geared towards health reform and are as follows:

  • Establishment of an after care centre.

  • Implementation of preventive programmes.

  • Implementation of a more rigorous medical system.

  • Establishment of a Drug Advisory Council to deal with the prevention of illegal drug use among prisoners.

  • Endorsement of the AIDS and HIV outreach programme, whereby groups working for the control of the disease are allowed to take these programmes into the prison to administer to the inmates.

From the data presented, it would appear that St. Lucia, while it may be on target with the EFA guidelines in its literacy programmes for the general adult population, is not at the same level in the prison system. This suggests that there needs to be many changes in the areas of skills training and the inculcation of values and attitudes in the St. Lucian prison system. Credit must, however, be given for the efforts with respect to health reform, proposed health reform, and health education.

Trinidad and Tobago

Prior to 1989, it was commonly believed within Trinidad and Tobago that the literacy rate was as high as 98%. This was due to the fact that literacy levels were taken to be synonymous with access to schooling. Thus, it was felt that illiteracy was only concentrated among the older population, age 45 and over, who had seldom or never attended school. The reports of high failure rates in secondary schools in the 1980s brought the literacy rate into question. The Ministry of Education embarked on a programme (1989-1992) to ascertain the true level of literacy in the society. In1994 and 1995, studies on adult literacy were also carried out by non-governmental agencies in the country (Adult Literacy Tutors Association, 1995; St. Bernard & Salim, 1995). The following information was ascertained: 78% of persons 15 years and over were literate (being able to read and write with relative ease; having very little difficulty using such skills to respond appropriately to tasks such as completing application forms and expressing thoughts in writing); 8.7% of the population was established as being peripherally literate (functionally literate according to EFA standards; being able to read and write); while 12.6% of the adult population was estimated to be illiterate (Trinidad and Tobago. Ministry of Education, 1999, p. 14). The Ministry thus sought to eradicate this problem of adult illiteracy.

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