‘Learners Ignorant about HIV/AIDS’

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK The findings of in loco research among 21 government schools in the north have proved that HIV/AIDS has undoubtedly become a serious environmental problem in the country. These findings are part of a case study by Johanna Amukeshe, one of the first Polytechnic graduates of a one-year Environmental Education Certificate course. Twenty-five students, mainly from the north, recently received certificates for successfully completing the course. “I did my research primarily among environmental clubs at schools and I found that most do not have enough information on HIV/AIDS. The youth is the greatest hope in the struggle against the pandemic. Therefore, it is imperative that that the country’s youth be properly equipped with the necessary knowledge and life skills to fight the disease,” Johanna Amukeshe suggested in her findings. Learners between the ages of 10 to 20 years and teachers between 25 and 45 years participated in the research project. “I developed a Hope Youth Programme to make learners and communities at large realize and identify the impact of HIV/AIDS on the environment. I used the social constructive theory whereby people learn by socially constructing meaning through group discussion between educators and learners. They shared experiences and ideas about HIV/AIDS through poetry, song, story-telling and role play, aimed at developing a collective solution to the environmental impact of the illness,” she said. According to Amukeshe, she also applied the beha-viourist theory because it is the best way to pass on information about HIV/AIDS to a large number of people. “Most schools were willing to take part in the programme. It is my understanding that most of the participants are now more open to discuss the pandemic among their peers and even parents. “There were parents who were unfortunately not very keen on having their children taught anything about HIV/AIDS. These parents indicated that they are afraid their children might be encouraged to participate in sexual activities,” Amukeshe stated in her findings.