MACHEKE - School-based HIV/Aids education programmes will now be conducted by teachers not health NGOs, the Primary and Secondary Education ministry has said.
Government was moving to streamline HIV/Aids education from aid agencies who had overrun schools conducting school-based education as an intervention strategy for providing information on the disease to young people.
The ministry noted that without proper regulation, health sector NGOs were often presenting conflicting and inappropriate information to school kids, resulting in school authorities being blamed by parents and guardians.
National Aids Council (Nac) operations director Raymond Yekeye told journalists at a training workshop hosted by his organisation this week that the ministry was now recommending that aid agencies train teachers who would in turn teach children.
“The challenge was that there were so many implementing partners in schools such that they had stopped everyone and proposed that we have a structured curriculum to be coordinated and channelled through the Education ministry,” Yekeye said.
He added that, the move was justifiable as the ministry was responsible for what pupils learn at school.
He asserted that, training of teachers would only be conducted during school holidays.
“They said since there are no longer extra-lessons pulling teachers out of their classes during school terms...so all training will need to be conducted during school holidays,” he said.
Grace Maposhere, an educationist who has been living with HIV for the past 21 years, underlined the need for HIV and Aids interventions in schools as there were worryingly high incidences of high school students committing suicide.
“Some of them only realise their status during secondary education and would require adequate psychosocial support in the school environment,” Maposhere said.
This comes amid concerns that lack of skills among teachers for imparting sensitive information to students can lead to programme failure in terms of achieving goals.
Maposhere’s sentiments were echoed by Solomon Mukungunugwa, a senior Health ministry official, who said it was important to equip teachers with the requisite knowledge to be able to support such children.
“Children ask questions and teachers feel disempowered to answer,” Mukungunugwa said.
HIV/Aids is now an examinable subject in the new education curricula.
“A positive development we have also had is that HIV and Aids is now an examinable subject from Grade Seven right up to ‘A’ level,” Yekeye said.