A possible future of HIV and Aids management in the school education sector in South Africa

Burger, Amelia (2008-03)

Thesis (MA (Industrial Psychology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2008.


“My country is dying. It depends on our young people to ensure that it stays alive, because the adults are not doing it. We children are not supposed to do it, but we should rather prepare ourselves for it. We must help each other to keep alive, stay safe and protect our brothers, sisters, cousins and friends against HIV and Aids.” – Alexandra, 13 years old (www.uneca.org). The previous secretary-general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, quoted these words at the Africa Development Forum in December 2000. There are millions of children like Alexandra in South Africa and the rest of the continent. And she’s right. Sometimes HIV and Aids are the very factors that form the social, political and economic circumstances in which the pandemic thrives – and that creates a downward spiral (UNAIDS (a), 2005). If one thinks of young people, one inadvertently thinks of the education sector, which happens to be one of the sectors in which HIV and Aids have the greatest impact, on the supply as well as the demand side. The development and implementation of policy in this sector will be of crucial importance in determining how the epidemic will grow (or not), in South Africa and elsewhere. In 2005 the advocacy organisation UNAIDS published a book containing three scenarios on how HIV and Aids could develop in Africa over the next two decades as a result of decisions made today: 1. Africa takes a stand and makes tough choices; 2. Africa gets caught in the traps we face today; 3. Africa and the rest of the world stand together and overcome the pandemic (UNAIDS (a), 2005). The Africa Centre for HIV/Aids Management at Stellenbosch University offers postgraduate courses in the workplace management of HIV and Aids. One of the assignments students at this centre had to do focused on developing a human resources strategy for their workplace. A high number of these students work in the education sector, either at provincial departments of education or as school teachers. Their assignments provide details on how HIV and Aids are currently managed, as well as recommendations for the future (Africa Centre for HIV/Aids Management (c). 2005/6). In this document the assignments of students from the education sector are analysed. They are compared with the abovementioned three scenarios, with the purpose of trying to determine the direction in which the education sector in South Africa is heading concerning the management of HIV and Aids.

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