Final contribution from Swaziland
Involving teachers in HIV prevention – policy and management implications
• What mechanisms are in place in your country or the country/ies in which you work to support teachers to address HIV and AIDS? Consider, for example, the relative importance of: curriculum and associated instructional aids, support from teachers’ unions, school management and administration, links with parents and communities, quality assurance and support systems, and the establishment of a safe and secure institutional environment.
Swaziland has established a coordinating unit under the DPM’s office called the National Children’s Coordinating Unit (NCCU). Within the education sector there’s the coordinating body called HIV Education Sector Committee (HESCO) that was established to coordinate HIV interventions within the education sector.
The curriculum has been reviewed to incorporate HIV and AIDS education by the National Curriculum Centre (NCC), though not evenly distributed to all the subjects. Non Govermental Organisations (NGO’s) and UN agencies do produce IEC materials such as posters, pamphlets and audio visual materials help to promote awareness and knowledge to both teachers and students.
The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) has established an Educational Committee which deals with issues of gender and health including HIV and AIDS to both teachers and students.
The school management and administration is supportive to any health programmes initiated by the Schools Health Unit under the Ministry of Health e.g school visits and deworming programmes.
The Ministry of Education and Training has adopted a programme called the Schools as Centre of Care and Support (SCCS) which aims at facilitating strong links between schools and communities in fighting HIV and AIDS and its consequences. This programme has now been adopted by SADAC as a regional programme under the name “Care and Support for Teaching and Learning” (CSTL) with the help of UNICEF and MiET.
The government has employed senior inspectors for all subjects and chief inspectors for primary schools, secondary/high and colleges/tertiary.
The Teaching Service Commission (TSC) hires teachers either permanent or on specified contracts for their job security and also monitors their conduct and relations with students to eliminate intimate relations between the two.
• Is there an education sector policy in your country or the country/ies in which you work and how does it address issues such as teacher training, professional conduct, supervision, and the workplace? Were professional bodies representing teachers involved in its development and review? How are the outcomes monitored?
The Ministry of Education and Training has developed National Policy Statement on Education. This policy states that teacher education is in two fold i.e pre-service and in – service training.
The Education Act, The Teaching Service Act and Regulations and the Schools Accounting Regulations have been formulated to monitor professional conduct and supervision.
The Swaziland National Association of Teachers and all education sector stakeholders were represented in the development of these policies and acts. It is usability of the policies and acts which have uncovered loopholes hence the need for them to be reviewed.
• In your opinion, how does the process by which teachers are selected to teach about HIV affect their motivation to take on this task? In what way(s) do you think the teacher selection process impacts on the outcomes of their work? What recommendations might you make to improve the process?
The teachers who are selected to teach about HIV are those doing guidance also and counselling, so they feel they are overwhelmed with work and subsequently they should be paid for this since it is assumed as extra work.
Each school should have a teacher to solely teach about guidance and health issues including HIV and AIDS.
• What are the incentives and the disincentives for teachers in becoming involved in HIV education? Is compensation, financial or otherwise, provided and is this seen to be fair?
There are disincentives for the teachers in that being involved in this adds to their normal school workload and there is no compensation which is not fair. However there’s an incentive in that they are continiously trained (short term) which enriches their CV’s and exposes them to other fields and possible future employment in other organization.
• What additional managerial capacity needs to be built, or what existing capacity needs to be strengthened, to respond to HIV effectively?
Mainstreaming of HIV and AIDS education into the school curriculum is still essential. Not necessarily incorporated in each subject.