HIV/AIDS and development in the education sector

HIV/AIDS and development in the education sector

Education sectors in Southern Africa are a primary site for HIV containment or disaster - or both

The objective of this paper is to describe the underlying problem of HIV/AIDS in the context of education development in Southern Africa, and also to identify opportunities for remedial action and positive enablement. The paper highlights the problems and challenges posed by HIV/AIDS in education in the areas of labour, the learning environment and financial resouces.

It makes the following recommendations:

  • in order to limit susceptibility and reduce potential impact, the present paucity of hard data must be supplemented with at least some dip-stick indicators in key groups, in order to help focus and target interventions
  • political and administrative heads of education systems must declare policy and establish a principled position and implementable framework within which managers and educators can work
  • system managers and educators must be retrained to act as role models and proactive, honest campaigners in HIV/AIDS education. This retraining must reinforce the prohibition of any sexual exploitation of students by educators
  • information programmes, counselling and the development of learning materials and teaching aids that effectively address issues that educators often find uncomfortable or difficult to communicate are a critical component
  • classroom and home environments must be integrated in a learning continuum, requiring that families be seen as an extension of the target group
  • prevention and treatment of all STDs should constitute a focus in such education, and is so significant in and of itself, that development agencies should consider involvement in a new generation of clinics for this purpose
  • Children of school-going age, whether HIV infected or not, must be assured access to the classroom
  • a care programme for AIDS orphans must be developed as a matter of urgency
  • the proactive engagement of visible and vocal role models at all levels of society is necessary, to highlight positive lifestyle choices and open a transparent, national dialogue on this challenge

[adapted from authors]

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