“Most adults are not used to talk openly about sex, and they feel uncomfortable about it. Teachers are not an exception. They may feel particularly uncomfortable discussing issues related to sexuality in front of a class of giggling adolescents! Moreover, many teachers prefer to think that they do not need to talk about this at all, leaving this important task to parents. But many parents feel equally shy to talk about sex with their children – and they may assume that the teachers will do it. As you can see, an information and knowledge vacuum is easily created.”Pakistan, Female, 22 years old respond to a UNESCO survey
In one article I talked about the importance of educating young learners about HIV/AIDS. However, this importance cannot be realised if there’s no one to teach/educate young learners about this issue.
Pre-service teacher training has a key role in preparing future teachers to deliver effective sexuality education and HIV prevention education to children and young people in education institutions. At the same time, it has the power to protect student teachers from HIV infection by changing their own knowledge levels, attitudes and behaviours, and to mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS on people who are directly or indirectly affected by the epidemic. (UNESCO, Booklet 6 – Pre-Service teacher training)
One of the biggest challenges in most education systems is teacher training. Schools are often filled with many teachers with little knowledge of the subject they teach. This makes it difficult to delegate these teachers to teach any subject matter.
According to the booklet, strengthening pre-service teacher training in HIV and AIDS requires a dynamic relationship between policy provisions at different levels.
Countries around the world have realised this important opportunity and have made efforts to equip teachers.
In 2000, the Highridge Teacher Training College in Kenya established an HIV and AIDS Sensitization Programme (HASP) to educate and protect student teachers by providing the knowledge, attitudes, skills and values that influence behaviour change. HASP developed into an information-sharing forum for tutors and students.
HIV affects a lot of people around the world and has some impact on the economy. It is thus important to find ways within the education system that will influence teachers to drive the necessary information in necessary ways that would be easily comprehend by learners.
Also read: Text 2 — Purpose Of Education
Since teachers are the last line of leadership in any education system, they need to be ready to talk about such topics.
Mduduzi Mbiza is a writer, content strategist, researcher, consultant and author of the book, ‘Human Education: The Voyage of Discovery’. He has contributed his articles on education to Daily Maverick, The South African, Voice360 and EduOne.