The Department of Basic Education has, on 5 May 2015, released the Draft National Policy on HIV, STIs and TB for public comment.
The DBE values the constructive comments of the public and wishes to encourage all stakeholders and interested parties to provide their written input and suggestions in order to ultimately strengthen the policy and its implementation.
All interested persons and organisations are invited to direct their comments to:
The Acting Director-General, Department of Basic Education
Private Bag X895
for the attention of Ms A Dano, Acting Director: Health Promotion Directorate. Or by Fax to: 012 328 8401 Or E-mail: email@example.com
Comments must reach the Department within 21 days of the publication (26 May 2015).
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Tuberculosis (TB) are chronic diseases that have reached epidemic proportions in South Africa. Taken together, they constitute a major management challenge for the country in general and the Basic Education Sector in particular.
Given the high level of HIV and TB co-infection in South Africa and the extent of shared vulnerability to these diseases, their potential to threaten the systemic functioning of different sectors is profound. In the context of the Basic Education Sector, these diseases impact the efficiency, quality and output of the sector by temporarily or permanently depleting its human capital, weakening its systems and structures, and diverting its resources away from its core mandate of improving teaching and learning. HIV and TB have the effect of making existing systemic problems worse, and should therefore be seen as a management issue and the business of every educator, manager and official in the Basic Education Sector.
In addition to eroding the Basic Education Sector’s capacity, how HIV and TB affect whole communities within which schools and educational institutions function, also needs to be taken into account. Growing numbers of children and learners are orphaned and made more vulnerable by the combined direct and indirect effects of these diseases, placing additional stress on learning and teaching in the classroom. No-one is untouched or unaffected.
In line with the implementation of the DBE Integrated Strategy on HIV, STIs and TB 2012-2016, the Department has developed this Draft National Policy on HIV, STIs and TB. The draft policy articulates the Department’s approach and intention in responding to HIV, STIs and TB including the provision of sexual and reproductive health services within the sector. The linking of HIV policy emanating from an education sector to a comprehensive response to TB, is a first in the world.
This draft policy is intended to replace the 1999 Department of Education National Policy on HIV/AIDS for learners and educators in public schools and students and educators in Further Education and Training Institutions.
a) The policy goals are:
i. Improved co-ordination and mainstreaming of the Basic Education Sector’s response to HIV and TB, to accelerate implementation of a comprehensive strategy for prevention, treatment, care and support.
ii. Increased knowledge, cognitive skills and information about life skills in general and HIV and TB in particular, to inform the life choices of all learners, educators, school support staff and officials and protect them from infection and disease.
iii. Improved access to HIV and TB prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care and support services to reduce the incidence of HIV and TB amongst learners, educators, school support staff and officials.
iv. Increased retention of learners, educators, school support staff and officials in a safe and protective education environment, to improve system efficiency, quality and output.
The Policy is organized around six themes designed to guide comprehensive responses to HIV and TB. These are Enabling environment; Prevention; Treatment, care and support; Impact mitigation; Workplace issues; and Management of the policy response.