Experiences of teachers on teaching HIV and AIDS : a case study of selected schools in Lesotho.
This case study constitutes three high schools in Lesotho that were selected by the Ministry of Education as pilot schools for Life Skills Education. The aim of the study was to identify factors contributing to teachers’ experiences in teaching HIV and AIDS. Research questions were: what are the experiences of teachers’ in teaching HIV and AIDS? and Why do teachers experience the teaching of HIV and AIDS in this way? A qualitative approach was used to gather in depth information about the experiences of teachers on teaching HIV and AIDS in the classroom. Data was done through lesson observations and interviews with four teachers who took part in the study. Themes that emerged from data were analysed using qualitative thematic approach. Themes: curriculum, sexual behaviour, teacher knowledge about HIV and AIDS, and communication. The results revealed a number of problems which teachers experience in teaching of Life Skills/HIV and AIDS. Among the problems teachers noted two main hindrances in teaching of Life Skills/HIV and AIDS emerged. The teachers indicated that they were not supplied with the syllabus and books. Teachers tried to improvise and looked for teaching resources for themselves. However, they reported that due to lack of time, efficient internet services, their efforts were not successful. In addition in the absence of the syllabus the teachers found it difficult to identify the relevant material. This seems to be compounded by the fact that schools were not prepared to fund such activities, such that the expenses for these activities were borne by the teachers. Embarrassment caused by sex terminology, condoms demonstrations, presented another problem as the teachers indicated that they felt uncomfortable to teach about HIV and AIDS in addition to which some of the students in the class were infected. Teachers also indicated that limited knowledge of the community about HIV and AIDS and claims by traditional healers that they can cure HIV and AIDS create misconceptions which are difficult to address in class. Therefore, the findings showed that teachers rarely teach about HIV and AIDS due to different problems they encounter on teaching Life Skills/HIV and AIDS. The study recommends that the Ministry of Education and training should implement and organize ongoing training for the teaching of Life Skills/HIV and AIDS, targeting all teachers in the schools. Training must equip teachers with the clear knowledge of HIV and AIDS. Trainers must be experienced specialists in the subject. Proper follow-up must be conducted in order to find out teachers’ understanding from the training.