Mapping barriers to learning amongst Grade 6 and 9 learners in an HIV and AIDS context.
Zondi, Thabisile Hazel-Anne.
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In recent debate within education, the notion of barriers to learning has been reconceptualised to focus on systemic issues rather than deficits in individual learners. These barriers are factors which contribute to learning breakdown and exclusion. HIV / AIDS has been recognised as one of the factors which contributes to preventing children from participating in and benefiting from learning. In South Africa HIV/ AIDS has reached pandemic proportions. There has been a call for in depth qualitative micro-studies to supplement the numerous macro, quantitative studies on HIV / AIDS to explore contextualised experiences of HIV / AIDS and barriers to learning. This study was aimed at mapping barriers to learning in a context of HIV and AIDS amongst grade 6 and 9 learners in the Richmond district of KwaZulu-Natal. The study used semi- structured interviews and focus groups with participative methods of data collection. The total sample was 60 with an equal number of male and female participants. The data was analysed qualitatively using thematic analysis and the framework provided by Bronfenbrenner's theory with a particular focus on contextual factors to describe and analyse the barriers to learning in the study. The study found that psychosocial exclusionary factors that were located at different system levels in terms of Bronfenbrenner's theory exacerbated the impact of mv/ AIDS in the context of the study. The interconnectedness of, and the ripple effects amongst, these barriers to learning create additional challenges for the current education policies to minimize the impact of HIV / AIDS in formal education