By Frederick Philander HEJA LODGE Too many workshops, money and energy are wasted articulating government policies instead of practically implementing such policies to pragmatically stop the scourge of AIDS in Namibia. This was the critical viewpoint of the deputy Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Education’s HIV/AIDS training programme, Stanley Simataa, when he yesterday officially opened a three-day workshop on ‘HIV/AIDS in the education system’. Some 30 advisory teachers, principals and curriculum developers from the Khomas Region are attending the workshop at Heja Lodge. The workshop is a joint venture between Unam and the ministry of Education. “It is action and not a thousand workshops like this and/or conferences, that will determine the degree to which we should be able to halt the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the country’s education sector. As educators we should rededicate our efforts and consolidate our stance in developing well focused and effective strategies for the integration of HIV/AIDS education in our school programmes,” Simaata urged. He pointed out to the participants the importance of the workshop in combating the AIDS pandemic as part of nation building. “The fact that society has entrusted its youth in you as teachers’ care is in itself a sign of the important role you play in nation building. In the face of the HIV/AIDS scourge as the number one threat to humanity, yours is even a harder battle to educate, disseminate and internalize the best approaches towards prevention and prevalence reduction,” the deputy PS said. He further stated the determination of his ministry’s commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS. “Many policies have been crafted to provide direction in awareness creation and service delivery in combating the spread of this social ill. We are obliged to find ways and means to immediately implement these policies at the regional and national levels because the pandemic continues to reverse the human investment of nations,” he said. “Namibia and sub-Saharan Africa are the hardest hit by the disease. The numbers of orphans are forever on the increase in our region, too. It is thus logical that we as educators stand up and develop responsive programmes at school level aimed at addressing and redressing the needs and challenges of the infected and affected in our society,” Simaata said. The workshop is focusing on the creation of an enabling and conducive environment for infected and affected learners at schools, the establishment of care and support services that will assist the needy at schools and the integration of HIV/AIDS in the curricula. “I wish you to fast-track HIV/AIDS education, prevention and the dissemination of information among learners and students,” he concluded.
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