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close this bookHealth & HIV/AIDS Education in Primary and Secondary Schools in Africa & Asia No. 14 (DFID, 1995, 94 p.)
close this folderSection 2 - Case studies: Methodology and findings
close this folderCase study 4: Ghana
View the document(introduction...)
View the document4.1 The general context
View the document4.2 Health and AIDS education: Curriculum activities
View the document4.3 The concerns of young people
View the document4.4 Opportunities for development

4.4 Opportunities for development

Research and evaluation

To date there has been no evaluation of the impact of teaching on health education generally - either in terms of its educational quality, or its impact on health. Rouse15 (1992) carried out a detailed study of the JSS family life education programme (which encompasses family planning, STDs, human biology, teenage pregnancy) in Kumasi. The results of the study indicate that lack of resources, parental disapproval and teachers' attitudes are major blocks to development - with the view that "sex education increases promiscuity" being commonly held.

15 Rouse, F. An analysis of the practice of family life education in JSS schools of Kumasi District, Ghana. Msc dissertation, Leeds Polytechnic, June 1992.

There have been a number of AIDS knowledge, attitudes and practice (KAP) evaluation studies related to the National AIDS Control Programme. A review of these studies (1988 to 199116) indicates a quite high degree of AIDS awareness, but also a number of misconceptions - including belief that AIDS is curable, and that it only affects "high risk groups".

16 Health education experiences in the Kumasi district 1991-1994. Kumasi Health Education Project.

As the School Health Programme developes, it will be important to use the findings of these studies, along with the needs assessment work which has also been done. Current health education teaching is considered to be sufficient.

Teacher and Parental support for health education in schools

Teachers stress the importance of hygiene education and express embarrassment and some reluctance about teaching sex education - but agree that it should be in the curriculum. Parents support the importance of hygiene education but again suggest little further. A small number suggested the importance of sex education (none seemed opposed to it). Several, when probed on specific diseases, felt AIDS should be addressed.

The following points summarise the main points for consideration if school health education is to be strengthened:

· Possibilities for implementation are frequently constrained by resources, and by parental and teacher resistance with the commonly held view that "sex education increases promiscuity".

· Teachers and parents agreed that AIDS should be addressed through schools - with age 12yrs being seen as the time to start teaching "in detail".

· Teachers accept that sexual aspects of AIDS must be addressed - but feel they need help on this (and prefer to involve health workers)

· Parents express a diversity of views, from some happy for their children to be given explicit and practical detail on (for example) condom usage, through to others who feel that information on how to prevent sexual transmission of HIV should not be addressed until later on in senior secondary school - believing that mentioning this earlier will lead to experimentation by young people.

Promising options for development

It is important to build on and develop existing structures and provision further, rather than attempting further innovation. In particular:

· strengthening the School Health Programme (SHP), and developing its link with the Ministry of Health.

· ensuring that the SHP makes full use of the available needs assessment data for curriculum planning and materials development.

· strengthening the School Health Service, again in close collaboration with the SHP.

· ensuring widespread dissemination through both health and education of the results of the school health intervention initiatives, in order to assess its future potential.

· addressing a current overemphasis in AIDS education of transmission of HIV through blood (e.g.: open cuts, shared razors at barbers etc.), and to re-focus on sexual transmission. (This may be an NACP mass media issue).

· highlighting individual susceptibility to HIV (currently seen as something affecting "other" - not "me").

· capitalising on the teacher and parent support for AIDS education through in-service training of teachers.

· developing the guidance and counselling service in schools, to address a wider range of personal issues, rather than only school subject choice.

· supporting current work further, rather than trying to develop new ideas from scratch.