In just 5 short days we spoke to almost 200 students at 7 different schools, visited the marketplace, met with 14 teachers, went to the beach, and only managed to lose Quanshay once. Each day, working with the Ministry of Education was different. Our team was assessing the Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) curriculum. The curriculum is tailored to the Caribbean culture and taught in all secondary schools on the island for 12-18 year olds. The ministry wanted an independent and outside appraisal of the curriculum. As a result, my group spent a lot of time on the ground, in the community facilitating focus groups. The focus groups aimed to assess the knowledge of students rather than teach or educate them. We gathered qualitative data from students and also learned about their culture directly from the source! All of the schools were incredibly welcoming and accommodating, and the students were so genuine and open with us.
Arthur Pierre, our main contact from the ministry, was incredibly helpful in organizing our school visits and showing us the island. He even had the team over to his house for dinner Thursday night where we got to try the national dish – oil down!
As I look back at the week, I know I’ll not only miss the cocoa tea and beautiful sunsets, but mostly the people we worked with and met.