Perceptions of primary school pupils and teachers on adequacy of HIV/AIDS life skills education in Nairobi and Thika districts, Kenya
Githinji, Felicity W.
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Formal education has been recognized as an important tool through which HIV/AIDS pandemic can be combated. This has led to the integration of HIV/AIDS education into the existing- school curriculum. This study was based on the assumption that increasing levels of knowledge and awareness could lead to desired behaviour change. However, having knowledge did not seem to be sufficient without the necessary life skills. Thus, Life Skills Education was introduced to strengthen the existing HIV/AIDS education. This study, therefore, intended to find out perceptions of primary school pupils and teachers on adequacy of HIV/AIDS life skills (HIV/AIDS/LS) education content in Nairobi and Thika districts. Specifically, this study sought to find out perceptions of pupils and teachers on the importance of teaching HIV/AIDS/LS education, the adequacy of the content, approaches in teaching of HIV/AIDS/LS education in sampled schools, problems encountered by pupils and teachers in teaching and learning process of HIV/AIDS/LS education, and suggestions on how the teaching and learning of HIV/AIDS/LS education could be improved. Four public primary schools were purposively sampled for the study. These are Westlands, Huruma, St Georges and Kuraiha Primary Schools. The study design was descriptive research methodology, qualitative in approach and utilized case study approaches for data collection, analysis and reporting. Respondents for the study included pupils from standard six, seven and eight, teachers teaching subjects in which HIV/AIDS/LS education has been infused, and headteachers of the sample schools. The key findings of the study were that both pupils and teachers perceived the teaching of HIV/AIDS/LS positively. In terms of rural and urban differences, schools in urban areas had better resources, got support from parents in teaching the subject, and allocated more time for teaching HIV/AIDS issues. Schools in slums and rural areas, however, had scarcity of resources and spent more time teaching examination oriented subject content, compared to discussing HIV/AIDS issues. The study established that teaching of HIV/AIDS/LS education in the sample schools was faced with challenges. These included lack of teaching resources such as textbooks, having little time allocated for HIV/AIDS/LS lessons, overemphasis on examinable subjects, and lack of training for teachers on HIV/AIDS/LS education. Based on the above findings, the study recommends that pupils should put into practice the knowledge acquired about HIV/AIDS. Every school should have a HIV/AIDS/LS education motto, whose reinforcement should start immediately the pupils join the school. Further, the study recommends that teachers receive training in HIV/AIDS/LS education in both in-service and pre-service. Parents in the specific schools need to be sensitized on HIV/AIDS in order to break the impasse on the taboo terminologies which put teachers at loggerheads with parents. In addition, the Ministry of Education to ensure there is monitoring and evaluation of HIV/AIDS/LS education by making it examinable.