The ecosystemic management approach to assisting schools to combat HIV/AIDS
Ndamase, Zoleka Judith
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The aims of this research were to investigate the ways in which School Management Teams and School Governing Bodies deal with, the HlV/AlDS epidemic at their schools; the ways in which HlV/AlDS programmes are coordinated at schools; whether a reciprocal relationship exists between school and community social systems in dealing with .the HIVIAIDS epidemic; and, finally, to suggest and develop an ecosystem approach which schools an follow in the management and governance processes of dealing with the HlV/AlDS epidemic at schools. The findings from the literature review indicated that HIVIAIDS does not only attack human biological and psychological systems by increasing susceptibility to opportunistic infections and impacting on human beings' psychological and physical well being, but also attacks social systems such as schools, families, communities, etc. by depriving them of the human resource assets and social structures necessary for the successful development of the country and the provision of care and treatment for persons living with HIV/AIDS. Ecological and systems theories, together with Epstein's framework of six types of involvement in school-family-community partnership, formed the framework of this research. These theories postulate that effective educational management and governance is founded on reciprocal multiple individual-school-community-society-global interactions and relationships which promote partnerships and relationships and thereby build supportive community environments and strengthen school-family-community-society world links. The findings from the empirical investigation indicated that participants who formed the sample of this research reported that their schools do not have the necessary management approaches to combat HIVIAIDS, namely, designated persons for coordinating HIVIAIDS prevention or policies on HIVIAIDS. The majority of the schools have not yet established school Health Advisory Committees as stipulated in the South African National Policy on HIVIAIDS (SA, Act 27 of 1996) and the Employment Assistance Programme. 'There are also no disclosures of the status and identity of learners or staff members with HIV and AIDS, which could be an indication of both learners' and educators' fear of being stigmatized by fellow learners and employees. The majority of the participants also indicated that their schools do not have plans to deal with learner and educator disclosures on their HIVIAIDS status. It is disturbing that the empirical research findings highlighted the fact that School Governing Body members do not understand the role they should play in dealing with the HIVIAIDS epidemic. Recommendations and an approach based on ,the ecological and systems theories of Bronfenbrenner and Epstein's framework of six types of involvement in school-family-community partnership are made and developed.
- Education