The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Education in Namibia

Case Studies & Research
Namibia. Ministry of Basic Education Sport and Culture
Namibia. Ministry of Higher Education Training and Employment Creation
135 p.

The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Education in Namibia has been published to provide empirical information on the impact of this epidemic on the education sector in Namibia to all those who find it relevant. The study was commissioned by the Ministry of Basic Education, Sport and Culture and the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Employment Creation, and conducted by Abt Associates South Africa.Government's commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS was once again forcefully demonstrated in 1999 when the Presidential Commission on Education, Culture and Training was required to also reflect on the impact of this pandemic on the education sector. One of the recommendations of the Presidential Commission Report was the establishment of a task force that would focus attention on the impact of HIV/AIDS on the education sector, and together with the line Ministry and other partners, work toward mitigating the effects of the pandemic on the education sector. The joint ministerial HIV/AIDS Committee, that our two Ministries of Education set up, correctly identified the need to empirical evidence on the HIV/AIDS impact on the education sector. It also played a key role in the identification of an appropriate organization to undertake this study.When at first the outbreak of HIV/AIDS became an issue affecting Namibia and Namibians, there was an initial tendency by people to view this as a matter only inflicted persons and the line Ministry of Health and Social Services. Everybody seemed to look at HIV/AIDS from a distance until the disease is now hitting mercilessly on the Namibian Nation. It has dawned on each individual/official that HIV/AIDS is ravaging and slowing down the strides that we are striving to make. There is now an increasing understanding amongst the people in Namibia, that this pandemic is a Namibian reality. Its effects on the school population, on the provision of teachers and on the daily life of some learners, especially those orphaned by this disease, pose the greatest threat or challenge to education today. Research evidence on HIV/AIDS on the education sector, is therefore vital to guide all those who are involved in the fight against this disease as to how best to tackle it or how to deal with its increasing effects on the education sector effectively.The 1999 Presidential Commission's Report correctly noted that the impact of HIV/AIDS on this sector cannot significantly alleviated by changes within schools alone. To fight the scourge of HIV/AIDS successfully, we require an integrated approach and we need the correct information on the scope and nature of this disease. Scientifically-based evidence on the impact of the pandemic is an effective weapon with which we need to equip ourselves in the fight against this killer disease in our schools. Such information is vital for the learners, parents, teachers, education planners, other ministries, development partners and civil society organizations.Namibia's socio-economic development depends, to a large extent , on education and the development of its human capital. If the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS on education are not mitigated, our future development in Namibia looks gloomy. The recommendations of this impact study and the opportunity for the reflection on the impact of the disease on education which this study offers, should be seriously considered and implemented without delay. We trust that this publication will be of use to many people in Namibia as well as many others outside our borders, who might want to learn from our experience.

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