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Media Release

Thursday, 13 June, 2002

WCED plays leading role in fight against HIV/AIDS

Statement by André Gaum, Western Cape Education Minister

The Western Cape Education Department is playing a leading role in supporting the national effort in our fight against HIV/AIDS.

The role of our HIV/AIDS programme in schools in the Western Cape is largely preventive, its primary aim being to delay sexual debut among young people.

Key features of our HIV/AIDS programme this year include:

  • Introducing a new education programme for primary-school children. The WCED has already trained more than 8000 teachers for the programme in most of the province's primary schools. We will complete the balance of the training required this year.

  • The WCED is providing education materials for every primary-school teacher in all three official languages.

  • The WCED is extending the HIV/AIDS programme to high schools this year, focussing on Grades 8 to 9, with Grades 10 to 11 to follow in 2003.

  • During 2002, the department will train about 5 000 high-school pupils as peer educators in about 120 schools. Their role will be to teach fellow learners how to make responsible choices.

  • The HIV/AIDS programme is based on our Life Orientation curriculum and forms an integral part of our teaching and learning programme in schools

Ultimately, the best defence against AIDS is a good education. The World Bank made this point in a report published last month titled: "Education and HIV/AIDS: A Window of Hope". To quote the World Bank:

"Education offers a window of hope unlike any other for countries, communities and families to escape the deadly grip of HIV/AIDS. Vigorous pursuit of Education for All goals is imperative, along with education aimed at HIV prevention."

In addition to our extensive HIV/AIDS, the WCED is implementing a wide range of programmes as we seek to achieve our vision of effective education for all.

Our motto for education in the Western Cape is "Put Education First to break through to a better future." HIV/AIDS is showing us that we are dealing with a life and death matter here, as we seek to meet this call.

Issued by:
The Communications Directorate
Western Cape Education Department
Private Bag X9114
Cape Town 8000
Tel: (021) 467-2531
Fax: (021) 467-2363
Email: pattwell@pawc.wcape.gov.za
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