Affected by the loss of a classmate.
Jonathan, Chantelle Unice.
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The HIV and AIDS pandemic that has struck worldwide has impacted not only on those whose lives it has taken but on the loved ones left behind to cope with the trauma, stigma and discrimination of the disease. HIV and AIDS presents a challenge to all, especially early adolescents whose lives, already complicated with their negotiation to adulthood, are also affected and infected by HIV and AIDS. How early adolescents cope with death is influenced by their developmental level as well as by their relationships to the deceased. Schools as secondary institutions of socialisation are charged with not only the academic development of their learners but also their physical, moral and social development as well. Schools are responsible for educating the learner in a caring school environment and educators are tasked with the added responsibility of providing pastoral care for their learners in times of distress. The inclusion of death education and policies to support learners following death becomes a necessity as the incidence of death increases. Research with regard to this study was conducted as follows:- • A literature study of available literature was done. • Qualitative research comprising the use of unstructured interviews was used to obtain data. Six participants from the class of a primary school who experienced the loss of a classmate participated in the research. Data was obtained during audio-taped interviews which were then transcribed and coded by the researcher to establish themes and categories. Conclusions were drawn from the data yielded in the research and the literature study and recommendations were made. The aim of these recommendations is to facilitate helping the Department of Education and Culture to empower educators in pastoral care and counseling who in turn will be able to assist learners in need of care.