The Intersection of HIV and AIDS and the Education System in Sub-Saharan Africa
Table of Contents
- 1 Introduction
- 2 See also
- 3 References
- 4 External links
- 5 Feedback
The past two decades Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and in particular Southern Africa has been the world region most devastated by HIV/AIDS and AIDS.Caillods, F, Kelly, M. J and Tournier, B. (2008) IIEP Brief for Planners, HIV and AIDS: Challenges and Approaches within the Education Sector. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO: http://www.iiep.unesco.org/fileadmin/user_upload/News_And_Events/pdf/2008/Brief_HIV_AIDS.pdf (accessed 13 July 2012) HIV and AIDS related illnesses and deaths among the most productive groups in society, specifically heads of households and young adults quickly showed that the epidemic is not a health sector issue only. Instead, all sectors important for the development of society, including Access to Education, Women and Agriculture, governance, security and the economy are impacted.
The HIV and Education Challenge
Commitments by various actors to mitigate and prevent HIV infections, along with scientific advancements and increased access to treatment options have shown significant progress in slowing down the epidemic in recent years.Caillods, F, Kelly, M. J and Tournier, B. (2008) IIEP Brief for Planners, HIV and AIDS: Challenges and Approaches within the Education Sector. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO: http://www.iiep.unesco.org/fileadmin/user_upload/News_And_Events/pdf/2008/Brief_HIV_AIDS.pdf (accessed 13 July 2012)WHO (2011) Unparalleled global progress in HIV response but sustained investment vital, 30 November 2011: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2011/hiv_20111130/en/index.html (accessed 13 July 2012) The 2010 UNAIDS global report shows that from 2001-2009 the incidence of HIV in SSA had either stabilised or decreased.UNAIDS (2010) Chapter 2: Epidemic Update in Global Report: UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2010: http://www.unaids.org/documents/20101123_globalreport_slides_chapter2_em.pdf (accessed 13 July 2012) Despite this positive trend, cause for concern still remains in relation to the impact of HIV and AIDS on the education section, a sector which has long been identified as crucial for achieving development objectives. The negative impact of HIV on the education sector is a development challenge that has a gendered dimension to it. Young women ages 15-24 are the majority (64%) of people living with HIV (PLWH)in the world, while in SSA the rate is even higher with seven out of ten PLWH being girls and young women.WHO (2011) Unparalleled global progress in HIV response but sustained investment vital, 30 November 2011: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2011/hiv_20111130/en/index.html (accessed 13 July 2012)
The Gendered Impact of HIV on Education
The global Education for All (EFA) movement led by UNESCO seeks to ensure that people of all ages have basic education by 2015. Education is recognised as an important medium through which individuals and communities acquire knowledge and skills with which to navigate society. Of the different levels of education, primary school is the minimum level prerequisite for an individual to gain from health related and other information programs.UNESCO (2011) Education for All: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/education-for-all/ (accessed 14 July 2012) Research shows that girls who are in the education cycle for at least seven years stand to reap life-long benefits such as delayed marriage, and with that a reduction in their risk of contracting HIV.UNAIDS, UNFPA and UNIFEM (2004) Women and HIV/AIDS: Confronting the Crisis: http://www.unfpa.org/upload/lib_pub_file/308_filename_women_aids1.pdf (accessed 14 July 2012) Initiatives like “The girl effect” have brought this message to the mainstream, complementing and spurring efforts by national government and other entities that girls have access to, stay in, and complete primary school at a minimum.
A 2011 study shows that HIV and AIDS are reversing the trend towards EFA in numerous African countries, where less than 65% of children are enrolled in Primary Education in Sub-Saharan Women and African Economic Development.Boutayeb, A (2009) The Impact of HIV on Human Development in African Countries: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/9/S1/S3 This is demonstrative of the circular link between HIV and education – as the epidemic gets worse, the deeper the damage to the educations system and vice-versa.Avert.org (2012) ‘The Impact of HIV & AIDS in Africa’ http://www.avert.org/aids-impact-africa.htm (accessed 14 July 2012) HIV and AIDS impact primary school children and teachers in various ways, bearing in mind that the link between HIV and education is not just negative.
Primary School Children and HIV
- The economic toll of HIV and AIDS on households sometimes makes school-going costs unmanageable for parents and guardians forcing children to be excluded from school.
- Children orphaned by AIDS of whom 90% of the world total (14.4-18.8 million) live in SSA, are less likely to go to school.UNAIDS (2010) Global Report: UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2010 http://www.unaids.org/documents/20101123_globalreport_em.pdf (accessed 13 July 2012)
- Children, particularly girls are removed from school to assist with caring for sick family members. Interruption of girls education especially in their formative years bears life-long limiting repercussions.
- Where adequate teaching staff and information is available, children acquire knowledge on the epidemic at a crucial stage in their lives when they are not sexually active or engaging in other activities that may expose them to HIV infection.
TeachersAvert.org (2012) ‘The Impact of HIV & AIDS in Africa’ http://www.avert.org/aids-impact-africa.htm (accessed 14 July 2012)
- Absenteeism due to care-taker obligations for family members living with HIV, to attend funerals, or deal with own ill-health.
- Attrition due to deaths among teaching staff. This in turn applies pressure on already stretched teaching staff and may result in additional departures that may not be filled.
- Teachers are at the frontline of HIV and AIDS information and knowledge dissemination to safeguard the future generation.Carr-Hill, R. and Peart, E (2003) Understanding the Impact of HIV/AIDS on Education Systems in Selected Eastern and Southern African Countries Final Report: http://hivaidsclearinghouse.unesco.org/search/resources/HIV%20impact%20on%20Education%20in%20E%20Africa%20%20Moz.pdf (accessed 13 July 2012)
- HIV/AIDS/AIDS, Women and Conflict
- Education in Sub-Saharan Women and African Economic Development