Why is HIV/AIDS and school important?


The capacity of the education sector to deliver the “Social Vaccine” is reduced by the impact of HIV/AIDS. The epidemic is damaging education systems by killing teachers, increasing rates of teacher absenteeism, and creating orphans and vulnerable children who are more likely to drop out of school or not attend school at all.

The education sector has a central role in the multisectoral response to HIV/AIDS. But current evidence shows that the education sector response by both countries and agencies has often been slow and inadequate. This does not appear to reflect a simple lack of resources: although the overall resource envelope may be inadequate, those resources that are currently available (e.g. from the World Bank Multi-Country AIDS Program and from the Global Fund) are underutilized by the education sector. Indeed, few education systems have begun to address HIV/AIDS systematically and many countries have yet to develop a formal strategy for an education sector response to HIV/AIDS.

At the request of countries affected by HIV/AIDS, the UNAIDS Inter Agency Task Team (IATT) for Education was established as a mechanism for coordinating action on AIDS and education among the UNAIDS co-sponsors, bilateral donors and Civil Society. In 2002, the IATT established a Working Group, coordinated by the World Bank, with the specific operational aim of helping countries to “Accelerate the Education Sector Response to HIV/AIDS in Africa”. Working with country teams, the Working Group identified four key areas for support:
  • donor coordination
  • leadership in the education sector
  • capacity building
  • sharing of information on good practices in sectoral responses to HIV/AIDS
Key elements of this activity include sub-regional and national workshops that bring together education, health and national AIDS teams to share good practices and develop more effective strategies that result in implementation at the school level. The workshops are a point of entry for dialogue to:
  • promote sectoral leadership
  • identify gaps in knowledge and build capacity
  • share information and build networks
  • strengthen stakeholder coordination
  • identify new resources for the education sector


How does the World Bank support HIV/AIDS and education?

In developing countries, the World Bank is focusing on developing stronger links between education and other sectors, especially health, to mainstream HIV and AIDS in new programs, and on making resources for HIV and AIDS available to the education sector. Since November 2002, education teams from 34 national governments and 49 State governments in Africa have sought the assistance of the Working Group to assist them in undertaking situation analyses, and strengthening education sector strategies, policies and work plans. The work has focused on five key thematic areas:
  • management and planning
  • prevention
  • workplace policy
  • ensuring education access for orphans and vulnerable children
  • tertiary level institutions.
At the request of countries affected by HIV/AIDS, the UNAIDS Inter Agency Task Team (IATT) for Education was established as a mechanism for coordinating action on AIDS and education among the UNAIDS co-sponsors, bilateral donors and Civil Society. In 2002, the IATT established a Working Group, coordinated by the World Bank, with the specific operational aim of helping countries to “Accelerate the Education Sector Response to HIV/AIDS in Africa”. Working with country teams, the Working Group identified four key areas for support: donor coordination, leadership in the education sector, capacity building, and sharing of information on good practices in sectoral responses to HIV/AIDS.
(education)

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