Impact of HIV/AIDS on education of Primary School Girls in South Kisa Location of Butere- Mumias District ,Kenya
Ochieng', Rubai Mandela
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This study discusses the impact of HIV/AIDS on education of primary school girls in South Kisa location of Butere-Mumias District in Western Ken-Va. Particular attention has been paid to girls who have lost either one parent or both parents to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, herein. referred to as affected girls. The education of affected girls has been studied in as far as four aspects are considered, that is: access, participation, performance and retention. Girls were studied because they were seen to be more disadvantaged than bo\s in as far as HIV/AIDS was considered. This is because more women than men are dying of AIDS and girls have to take up household chores of their mothers alongside schooling. In addition. girls have to bear a disproportionate burden of caring for those infected by HIVIAIDS. Despite the potentially (now remarkably) serious impact of HIV/AIDS on education of girls in rural areas, remarkably little attention had been devoted to this fundamentally important problem-. This made it necessary for the current study to be carried out. The study is mainly qualitative and has utilised both the survey and documentary methods of data collection. It involved Focus Group Discussions with affected girls and class teachers. In addition, the study made use of questionnaires; interviews; and observation schedules. The survey method was appropriate for this study because it enabled the researcher to obtain views from a large number of people of this impact of HIV/AIDS on girls' education. This made it possible to not only describe, but also compare one implication to another and find out where certain implications existed. Results from the study indicate that girls whose parents die out of AIDS or become too sick before their daughters join standard one, often fail to enrol in school. The lucky ones who manage to enrol in school do so at an older age as compared to their classmates. It was also found that the girls whose families are hit by HIN"AIDS when they are already in school experience frequent lateness and. absenteeism, due to taking care of sick family members and working for a wage among other reasons. Generally, the affected girls under participate in classroom activities and some of them (described by teachers as sleep deprived) often doze during lessons. However, the girls' participation in out-door activities was found to be good although there were those who were isolated because their friends suspected them of being infected by HIV/AIDS. The performances of affected girls in class tend to drop once HIV/AIDS hits their families. Only some emotionally strong girls retain their regular performance. It was also found that affected girls drop out.of school prematurely due to such reasons as early marriages, child labour, pregnancies, increased household chores and lack of school necessities, among other reasons. The study recommends that in order to improve the education of affected girls, the government and NGOS should assist them buy important necessities such as books and uniform. The girls' food, clothing. shelter and medical expenses should also be taken care of. Guidance and counselling programmes should be put in place at the school levels to help the affected girls come to terms with their situation. Religious institutions should supplement this effort. In addition, special arrangements should be made to provide for the high school education of affected girls.