Teachers living with AIDS: underplaying the role of emotions in the implementation of HIV/AIDS policy in Zimbabwean primary schools

Case Studies & Research
University of Pretoria

This study explores how HIV-positive teachers within a specific social context understand, interpret and act on HIV and Life Skills policy.The aim of the author was to illuminate the experiences of teachers living with AIDS and how their experiences affect the ways in which they understand and act on government policy. Three distinct themes emerged from the analysis: a) conflict between teacher as role model and ideal citizen, and teacher as an HIV-positive person; b) HIV illness and its impact on the body of the teachers; c) teachers as emotional actors. The main findings from the study suggest that in a context with AIDS there are limits to what education policy can achieve if it remains out of touch with a real world in which schools is attended by children and teachers whose bodies are either infected or affected by the HIV virus. Secondly, the study highlights the uniqueness of HIV and AIDS education policy and its implementation which, unlike other education policies, powerfully brings to the fore the emotions of the implementers.

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