Infusing may mean diffusing: the case against "integration"
Attempts to integrate HIV/AIDS across core subjects, taught by different teachers, have not met with great success. Below are some research findings and examples that explain why. Based on this evidence and experience, UNICEF is encouraging countries to move away from the integration approach, and toward the "carrier" or separate subject approaches, i.e., teaching the necessary knowledge, attitudes, and skills together in one (existing) subject, in the context of other related issues and processes. Where a separate course is possible, delegates at the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, 1994) recommended the establishment of comprehensive school-based education covering a range of health issues, including basic health and nutrition, the physiology of reproduction, reproductive and sexual health, family planning, STD, and HIV/AIDS prevention.
A study by the Centers for Disease Control, USA (Kann, et al., 1995), showed that compared to "health educators", "infusion teachers" teaching HIV/AIDS prevention were:
In its own efforts to implement a life skills approach, UNICEF has recognized that infusion of psycho-social life skills within core subjects is too broad and too slow to have an impact on the sexual behaviour and skills of adolescents, and is thus not protecting them against HIV/AIDS and pregnancy. After years of promoting infusion of life skills, UNICEF found that many teachers were still not using the manuals in classrooms. They were too complex for the average teacher to use; for example, they did not focus on health issues, but took a broad concept of "thinking skills" to be infused into any subject. [Gillespie A, Education Section, UNICEF]
Chendi, H. HIV/AIDS Life Skills Programmes in Lesotho. Unpublished, 1999.
Chendi, H. HIV/AIDS Life Skills Programmes in Malawi. Unpublished, 1998.
Ford N, D'Auriol AF, Ankomah A, Davies E, & Mathie E, 1992. Review of literature on the health and behavioral outcomes of population and family planning education programmes in school settings in developing countries. Institute of Population Studies, University of Exeter.
Gachuhi D, 1999. The impact of HIV/AIDS on education systems in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region, and the response of education systems to HIV/AIDS: Life Skills programmes. Prepared for UNICEF ESARO. [see Documents below]
Kann L, Collins JL, Pateman BC, Small ML, Ross JG & Kolbe LJ, 1995. The School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS): Rationale for a nationwide status report on school health. Journal of School Health, 65, 291-294.
Molobe, E & Salewski T, 1999. Education for Citizenship: Life Skills in the Botswana Classroom. Paper presented at the 1999 BOLESWA Symposium, 1999.
Smith G, Kippax S, & Aggleton P, 2001. HIV and sexual health education in primary and secondary schools: Findings from selected Asia-Pacific countries. October, 2000.
Gachuhi D, 1999. The impact of HIV/AIDS on education systems in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region, and the response of education systems to HIV/AIDS: Life Skills programmes.