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HIV/AIDS in the classroom

Posted by Rouvanne van den Berg on May 17, 2007

The Shuttleworth FoundationThe Minister of Education recently launched the Higher Education HIV & AIDS (HEAIDS) programme. The challenge faced by the higher education sector with regard to HIV/AIDS is succinctly captured in the following statement from the Association of African Universities: ‘To a greater degree than ever before, African universities must renew their commitment to help Africa find effective solutions to its perennial problems of hunger, poverty and disease. In particular, the HIV/AIDS crisis poses a serious threat to African societies within which universities are situated. We need to recognise that the solution to this problem might well lie in Africa. African universities must, in any event, be in the forefront of research, education and action in this matter.’

As a nationally coordinated effort in the fight against HIV/AIDS, HEAIDS seeks to strengthen the capacity, systems and structures of all higher education institutions in managing and mitigating the causes, challenges and consequences of HIV/AIDS in the sector and to strengthen the leadership role that can and should be played by the higher education sector.

According to the minister, one of the first activities of the HEAIDS programme will be a national survey involving a sample of 25 000 staff and students, to establish HIV prevalence on the campuses and to understand the beliefs and behaviour of students as they relate to HIV/AIDS.

A second area of activity that will take shape soon is the focus on equipping student teachers to deal more effectively with the challenges they will face as they enter the classroom. More detailed content on HIV and AIDS in the teaching curriculum will be developed and more time will be spent on developing the skills that teachers need to respond to learners living with the virus or affected by its impact on their families.

The Shuttleworth Foundation Newsletter – May 2007

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