How HIV/AIDS education is fostered in the intermediate phase in a school.
Intermediate Phase learners represent our "window of opportunity" since children in the middle childhood years are in the process of acquiring knowledge and forming attitudes and beliefs which will have long-term implications in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This is an in depth study to examine how HIV/AIDS education is fostered in the Intermediate Phase in a school. The focus is to examine the level of knowledge and understanding of HIV/AIDS of the learners and Life-skills educators and how it is managed in the school. The study used a mixed methodology design employing both quantitative (learners' questionnaires) and qualitative (educators' and manager's interviews) methods of data collection. The questionnaire embodied both open-ended and closed questions which were further categorized into dominant themes: level of knowledge and understanding of HIV/AIDS, sources of information, learners' attitudes and myths/misconceptions abut HIV/AIDS. The data produced was triangulated with the responses from the educators' and manager's interviews. Analysis of the data was carried out in the Microsoft Excel program by using the programs graph wizard to generate bar graphs for easier interpretation of the open-ended questions. The findings of the questionnaire showed positive results and left me with a sense of optimism for the future, although there were areas of concern as in the findings of the grade four learners. The educators' responses to the interviews revealed the reasons for the concern which are attributed to lack of training in life-skills and sexuality education, unavailability of resources and poor knowledge about policy documents. The management response also revealed lack of focus and commitment from all stakeholders to give impetus to the fight against HIV/AIDS. The role of the school and religious and civic organisations cannot be underestimated in the fight against AIDS. We should empower our children with education and life skills - not only so that they can prevent themselves from being infected, but also so that they can have the opportunity to learn to become compassionate caring members of a society that will be struggling with the aftermath of HIV/AIDS for a long time to come.