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close this bookSchool Health Education to Prevent AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) : Handbook for Curriculum Planners (UNESCO - WHO, 1994, 88 p.)
close this folderA. Designing the programme
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentProgramme model
View the documentMaking a situation assessment
View the documentDefining the type of programme
View the documentSelecting objectives
View the documentMaking a curriculum plan
View the documentPlanning for material production
View the documentDeveloping the students’ activities
View the documentParticipation of parents and family members
View the documentInvolvement of peer leaders
View the documentDeveloping the teachers’ guide
View the documentValidating the curriculum
View the documentPlanning for teacher training
View the documentDesigning the programme evaluation


There is increasing consensus about the need for AIDS education for young people. Studies have shown that sex and AIDS education may lead to a delay in the onset of sexual activity, and to the use of safer sex practices among those students who are sexually active. However, curriculum planners often lack examples of curricula, classroom activities and learning materials. This resource package has been compiled to assist curriculum planners to design HIV/AIDS/STD education programmes for their own school systems, for students aged between 12 and 16. The programme presented in this package is based on participatory methods, as these have been shown to be particularly effective for the teaching of behavioural skills.

The package* includes:

* This package uses two publications by WHO, UNESCO and UNICEF as primary sources. Curriculum planners should read them and have them available for quick reference:

· School Health Education to Prevent AIDS and STD (WHO AIDS Series No. 10), WHO/UNESCO, World Health Organization, Geneva, 1992

· Comprehensive School Health Education-Suggested Guidelines for Action, UNESCO/WHO/UNICEF, World Health Organization, Geneva, 1992

These can be obtained from:


Documentation Centre
1211 Geneva 27
Fax: (41 22) 788 18 36
Email: (Internet)

· Handbook for curriculum planners

Outlines the main steps in curriculum planning, and includes a series of appendices, mostly evaluation instruments.

· Students’ activities

Includes fifty-three student activities that meet a wide range of objectives for teaching an HIV/AIDS/STD programme. Curriculum planners may choose those most relevant to their country, and adapt the text and the illustrations for language and content, according to the cultural context and the age of students targeted.

· Teachers’ guide

Contains specific instruction on how to teach each activity, and background information for teaching a programme on HIV/AIDS/STD. This guide may also be adapted for language, content, and teaching methods.

Using the resource package

The package is not intended to be prescriptive either in terms of content and approach or in terms of identifying at what age students should commence the programme. Educational policy regarding the entry point of an HIV/AIDS/STD education programme will vary from country to country. Policy makers and planners will also be concerned about such issues as how to timetable such a programme, what training teachers require, and what additional printed materials will have to be developed to ensure the success of the programme.

It is the responsibility of curriculum planners to design their programmes. Their choices will undoubtedly be influenced by prevailing cultural norms and social and ethical values. Cultural, religious and ethnic norms and values must be taken into account when designing and introducing an HIV/AIDS/STD education programme which deals with sensitive issues such as sexuality and safe sex practices.

However, it is also important not to lose sight of the fact that young people, for a variety of reasons, tend to adopt the norms, values and attitudes of their peers, which may be in conflict with those of their parents and traditional society.

Creating a collective responsibility

The Curriculum Planner has the task of designing convincing and effective programmes for students which will be acceptable not only to students but also to their parents and the wider community.

Students obtain all kinds of information outside the school and are often involved in experiences which may never be discussed or even acknowledged in a school setting. Care should be taken when designing an AIDS programme, to avoid discrepancies between ‘school knowledge’ and ‘outside knowledge’, as these can become a source of mistrust and conflict.

In this respect, it is important that the knowledge and skills acquired by students at schools, are sufficiently detailed and explicit to enable students to cope successfully with the situations of risk they are likely to encounter inside and outside school, including peer pressure.

The purpose of HIV/AIDS/STD education programmes is to provide students with the knowledge and skills which will enable them to behave in a responsible way and thereby protect their own health and well-being. Methods which will assist them in this respect, therefore, form the major content of this resource package.

Because of the sensitivity of some of the subject matter, it is advisable to involve families, religious organizations and other social organizations in the initial planning sessions. In this way, content and activities considered suitable for general classroom use can be identified, as can those which are considered necessary, but too sensitive for ordinary classroom teaching. Alternative methods for ensuring that the students receive the latter kind of information can be discussed and developed with parental and community involvement.

Community involvement contributes to a sense of collective responsibility and provides support, both of which are necessary if school HIV/AIDS/STD education programmes are to be successful.

Student involvement in the curriculum design process

When designing educational programmes, curriculum planners frequently include students in the initial discussions in order to ensure that the material will be relevant and therefore effective. Students have often been involved in discussions about social, cultural, sporting and recreational or community-based programmes for schools.

These discussions usually take the form of focus group discussions dealing with specific issues. Certain of these require a creative brainstorming approach. Focus group discussions can be held with many and varied groups of students from rural and urban centres and from various social groupings. In other instances planners prefer to work with a highly representative student group with whom they meet regularly and build up a strong and frank rapport.

Behaviour change and behaviour shaping are central to AIDS education. The behaviours concerned are highly individual and intimate and it is therefore crucial to seek the opinions and suggestions of students themselves about programme content.

Appropriate context for HIV/AIDS/STD education

The ideas and activities presented in the package focus specifically on activities related to AIDS. However, AIDS cannot be isolated from a whole range of problems such as use of alcohol and other drugs, early prostitution, teenage pregnancies, poor living conditions, violence, and unemployment. In fact, many of the skills and attitudes that young people need to prevent infection with HIV/STD, are life skills that will be useful in responding effectively to a variety of other problems that they may face as they grow up.

In particular, an educational programme dealing with STD, HIV and AIDS requires that students have an understanding of their own physical and emotional development during adolescence, so that they can gain insight into their own and others’ sexuality. It is important to remember that the main mode of transmission of HIV/AIDS is through sexual intercourse, with the danger of infection greatly increased by the presence of an STD. Students should already have acquired basic knowledge about menstruation, sexual intercourse, conception, pregnancy and contraception.

HIV/AIDS/STD education is best taught as a component of health education, sex education or family life education programmes1. In those countries where such programmes do not exist, basic information about sexuality will have to be part of the HIV/AIDS/STD education programme.

1 School Health Education to Prevent AIDS and STD. Comprehensive School Health Education.