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Diploma in Health & Family Life Education (HFLE) Instruction

Field of Study: Health Care
Institution: University of the West Indies Open Campus
Island: Caribbean


 As Caribbean youth continue to face several challenges and as social structures erode over time, the well-being of children remains a primary concern of educators. Traditional educational approaches have not been able to adequately develop the attitudes in children that support healthy lifestyles. Consequently, Health and Family Life  Education (HFLE) programmes have been adopted in schools across the Caribbean as a strategy aimed to transform thinking, behaviours, attitudes and lifestyle habits of children.  This programme is expected to help children to develop effective coping skills for the challenges of everyday life and to help them move more confidently into adulthood. The HFLE Instruction Diploma programme is designed to assist in-service teacher to hone specialised pedagogical skills to deliver HFLE programmes across age groups in their own schools


What is this programme about?

The HLFE Instruction is a regional professional development diploma programme delivered across the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). It is a one-year programme which focuses on HFLE instructional strategies. This life-skills-based programme will:

  • Expand the knowledge base of participants by introducing a range of methodologies and new               instructional approaches that are adaptable in the teaching of children in schools.
  • Provide participants with the tools to assist children to develop the life skills  as well as adopt positive attitudes and behaviours that encourage healthy social existence


This video link provides information on the aims and achievements of the teaching of HFLE in schools across the Caribbean. Please click on the link below and using the password shown, to access the video.

Password: hfle


Who is this programme for?

HFLE Instruction is designed primarily for in-service teachers involved in HFLE programmes as well as for those who will become involved in the future, or even those with an interest in HFLE. Professionals such as guidance counselors, social workers and others, may also participate.


Programme Structure

The diploma is designed as a one-year professional development programme consisting of six (6) courses. Each course will yield 3-credit courses and a total of eighteen (18) credits will be amassed over one year.


The courses are as follows:

1.       Introduction to Health and Family Life Instruction

2.       Life Skills Education

3.       Self and Interpersonal Relationships

4.       Sexuality and Sexual Health

5.       Appropriate Eating and Fitness

6.       Managing the Environment


When will the programme start?

The programme starts in August of the academic year.


Entry Requirements

 Applicants must meet at least one of the following sets of criteria:

•            In-service teachers who have completed formal training in their local Teachers ’Colleges and are involved in the delivery of HFLE in their schools, will all be openly accepted into the programme.



•          Persons of the age of 21 years and over. These persons may have been out of  secondary school for at least five (5) years but have demonstrated academic potential, have gained relevant knowledge and work place experience, would be required to present with theirapplications full details of their qualifications –a document showing their knowledge development and employment record; an official academic transcript: certificates, documents and references; and a willingness to undertake tests and/or attend interviews if required.




•            Applicants who are not in-service teachers and who have not been formally trained by a Teachers’College, should ideally meet the requirements of five (5) CXC passes with English Language at Grades 1-3 or a pass in English Language at  CAPE.

Note:  An acceptable pass at CXC is a pass with Grades I, II or III at the General Proficiency level. Grade III is accepted with effect from May/June 1998. (The same subject cannot be counted at both CXC General Proficiency and GCE Ordinary Level.)


Academic Preparation

 Prior to the start of the programme all new participants must take part in an orientation programme held in August of an academic year. This orientation introduces learners to online study and prepares them for the demands of a UWI Open Campus online professional Diploma programme.


Course of Study

 1.     Introduction to Health and Family Life Education

The course is designed to provide the philosophical framework and the historical background of HFLE. While exploring basic socio-cultural health concepts, participants/practitioners will be encouraged to critique the principles and theories that underpin health promotion, behaviour development and change, and their applicability to diverse nature of Caribbean societies. The course will incorporate assessment strategies that may include research and field enquiry components. These components will allow students to test as well as adapt culturally appropriate theories, review HFLE school surveys, programmes and policies, for relevance in their own environments.


2.     Life Skills Education

This course is designed to provide participants/practitioners with the core skills and competencies to be used in the teaching of HFLE.  This life skills based approach is aimed at helping young people acquire the tools necessary to engage socially acceptable behaviours in the promotion of healthy lifestyles. These  may include core life skills in decision making, problem solving, critical and creative thinking, self-awareness, coping with stress, coping with emotions, empathy, communication skills and in the development of healthy inter-personal relationships.  A key component of the course is the development and management of safe, gender and culturally sensitive classrooms that facilitate positive learning experiences through careful strategic planning.


3.     Self and Interpersonal Relationship

This courseis designed to allow participants/practitioners to become both reflective and reflexive practitioners. The course examines the nature of self and others (including family, school, and community) and explores strategies for developing emotional competencies in order to build strong, healthy intra-, and inter-, personal relationships. An essential component of the course is to plan and model the teaching of life skills based lessons in a supportive school and classroom environment that promote and enhance healthy interpersonal relationships.


4.     Sexuality and Sexual Health

The course is designed to promote self-awareness and new understandings concerning relationships and sexual health. The course gives sexuality centrality to the disposition of the total person and specifically seeks to address issues related to family values, personal values, religious beliefs, social and cultural norms, economic factors, gender issues and personal experiences associated with expressions of sexuality, sexual choices and sexual health.  The participants/practitioners will  explore their own sexual self-hoods, and address their levels of comfort/discomfort with aspects of their own sexuality, and by extension, enable the development of objective positionalities in the teaching of HFLE. The course also aims to increase participants’knowledge of reproductive health but with  sensitivity to age appropriate learning resources. The course will expose participants to the various methodologies that may be used to create awareness and by extension, reduce vulnerability to HIV/AIDS, cervical cancer, and STDs.


5.     Eating and Fitness

The course allows participants to identify what constitutes appropriate eating and fitness behaviour in the Caribbean context, and will take into consideration socio-economic and socio-cultural factors, socialization and personal choice. It will explore the various issues associated with eating habits and fitness and how these may adversely affect the health of youth within the region. The course is designed to accomplish the following:

a.         Provide participants with the competencies to assist others in making healthy eating choices.

b.         Reduce indulgence in risks behaviours associated with lifestyle diseases.

c.         Expand knowledge concerning fitness and its correlation to good health and quality of living.

d.         Create awareness of the various social factors and the extent to which choice can affect appropriate eating and fitness.

e.         Improve knowledge and skills in the selection of age-appropriate sources of information, products, and services related to eating and fitness.



6.     Managing the Environment

The course is designed to provide students in schools with an understanding of the interrelationship between human activities, sustainable healthy environments and the quality of life. It seeks to build awareness concerning contemporary environmental issues and the related threats to health and the wellbeing of individuals, school and community. The course will also explore the psycho-social environment and the ways in which issues of poverty, access to health services, toxic home relationships, violence and abuse, the inability to negotiate new ICTs, inter alia, can reduce quality of life. Instructional methods will include lecture/discussions, participatory learning, class discussion, brainstorming, role play, games and simulations, and cooperative learning. Participants/practitioners are expected to develop the competencies and pedagogical approaches that would help them to be skilled HFLE instructors sensitive to age, gender, cultural norms and practices.  The graduates should be able to use the skills learnt to develop appropriate assessment strategies.


Course of Study
Level I (6 Credits)
Introduction to Health and Family Life Instruction
Life Skills Education
Level II (12 Credits)
Level I requirements (6 credits) +
Self and Interpersonal Relationships
Sexuality and Sexual Health
Level II (18 Credits)
Level II requirements (12 credits) +
Appropriate Eating and Fitness
Managing the Environment
 Completion time

In order to complete the programme in the specified one year period, participants will be required to pursue two courses per semester over three semesters.

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