Exploring the experiences of the primary school educators of teaching AIDS orphans and vulnerable children (OVC).
King, Adesoji Ojuri Oladokun.
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This study explores the experiences of primary school educators of teaching AIDS orphans and vulnerable children. It further explores how primary school educators can be equipped to be able to respond to the challenge of having AIDS orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in their classroom. This means, it explores how the primary school educators through continuous and active interaction with other levels of the ecosystem became agents of change to the critical circumstances of OVC. By utilising the resources available within and outside the school, the primary school educators are required/expected to respond to changing the circumstances of AIDS orphans and vulnerable children in their classroom by going the extra-mile in their responsibilities towards OVC by not just assume the position of an educator only but also representing a parental figure to OVC, so that the holistic needs of OVC can be met. This study is located within the interpretivist paradigm and uses qualitative methods to explore the experiences of primary school educators of teaching AIDS orphans and vulnerable children. An interview schedule was used to access participants’ experiences of teaching AIDS orphans and vulnerable children in their school contexts. The research which was a case study used semi structured interviews to generate data from educators in an active one-on-one interview. The data generated was analysed using Bronfenbrenner’s ecosystemic theory (Bronfenbrenner, 1997). Result indicated that primary school educators relied so much on the school sending them out for training on how to care for OVC, whereas they can do this on their own, on a part time-basis, to enable them care for OVC. This will portrays how serious they are with the issue of caring for OVC on a more holistic and professional level. They also rely heavily on some external assistance, whereas the challenges of AIDS orphans can better be viewed internally through collaboration between the School Management Board (SMG) and other educators, also by encouraging other peers in that school who are from stabled home to freely relate with OVC and see how this relationship can positively influence the life of OVC as some of the OVC find it more suitable talking to their fellow learners than talking to the educators. It is therefore, pragmatic that primary school educators’ involvement should go beyond their participation as recipients of service, and they should endeavour to have an understanding of contextual and social factors related to AIDS orphans and vulnerable children in their school context. The quality of education system in semi-rural areas of Pinetown is still not up to the required level as the initiated educational reform system has not been implemented in all the schools. Therefore, it is expedient that educators should profoundly explore orphanhood especially the AIDS orphans and vulnerable children in these areas and design intervention programmes to ameliorate their negative experiences.