|School Health Education to Prevent AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) : Handbook for Curriculum Planners (UNESCO - WHO, 1994, 88 p.)|
|A. Designing the programme|
The involvement of parents and other family members in programmes relating to human sexuality has a beneficial effect on both students and parents.1
1 Please refer to School Health Education to Prevent AIDS and STD
A school-based programme needs the support of the community and family if it is to be effective. Young people are only in school for a short period of time. If the school programme is to make a difference, it needs to receive support from the home.
Parents and families who are involved in a school programme on HIV/AIDS/STD provide valuable support and motivation for the programme objectives. They may also serve as valuable resources for information and reinforcement of healthy attitudes and behaviours.
A programme that involves parents and families in an HIV/AIDS/STD programme:
· Offsets possible resistance in the community
· Increases knowledge of parents, relatives, and other children in the family, some of whom may not attend school, about AIDS.
· Ensures greater acceptance of the programme in the community
· Acknowledges the role of parents and relatives in their childs education and in the development of his or her values
· Provides support for the teacher of the programme
· Leads to closer ties between home and school on other issues
· Facilitates communication between adults and children in the family.
Although extra effort is required to produce and ensure participation of parents and families, many countries have reported that the advantages are well worth the effort in terms of achieving the programme objectives.
Although many planners fear opposition by parents, most of them are favourable to programmes for the prevention of HIV/STD, once they realize the threat that AIDS poses to their children. The need for preventive education before children become sexually active has to be explained to them; they need reassurance that sex education does not encourage sexual experimentation in adolescents, but rather, makes them aware of the risks involved.
How to involve parents and other family members
· Parents attend a parent-teacher meeting to discuss the programme, look at the materials, and ask questions (see section B-2 for a sample agenda for a parent meeting).
· Parents attend religious or political gatherings, or other community events, where the school head/principal is present, to discuss the best way to protect their children from AIDS.
· Parents might be invited to the school for a show of projects, a short play, role-play sessions, puppets, etc.
· A parents guide can be prepared and distributed. This would provide: basic information about HIV/AIDS and about the extent of the problem in their country, particularly amongst young people; an outline of the curriculum that has been designed; and advice on how they can best help their children to learn responsible behaviours and ways to protect themselves.
Schools may organize training sessions in counselling techniques for volunteer parents, teachers and other interested community members.
· Parents are informed in writing or in a meeting, about the programme. (See section B-3 for a sample letter.)
· A leaflet is sent home to the parents explaining the programme and how they can become involved in their childs education (see section B-4 for an example).
· Students take home their completed student activity booklets to share certain activities with parents and other family members. The booklet would include an introduction to the programme and instructions to the parents (see section B-5 for an example).
· Children can ask parents questions about dating and other experiences that happened when they were young (see section B-6 for an example of these questions).
If parents are to be involved in the education programme, planners have to decide which method(s) are most suitable, and consider their cost.
One of the issues which is frequently raised in meetings with young people is their need for opportunities to discuss problems with concerned adults, since they cannot or do not want to discuss with parents or family members. Schools may organize training sessions in counselling techniques for volunteer parents, teachers and other interested community members, drawing on the expertise of health professionals, religious organizations, NGOs, and social workers. Training should cover HIV/AIDS/STD, pregnancy, sexual abuse, drug use. After training, the volunteers are available for 2-3 hours per week, on a roster basis. Students can visit these counsellors with the complete assurance of confidentiality.