Zero Effectiveness on HIV/Aids Awareness and the Need for a Separate HIV/AIDS Curriculum in Papua New Guinea

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF5 Sub-theme: Health // When the first six people were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 1987, it was seen as a health sector problem. This conception has since changed into a development issue pregnant with grave consequences. The Government in collaboration with development partners and with other civil society organisations have called on all sectors of the society to help in the fight against HIV which has become an epidemic. // The Department of Education has developed its own HIV/AIDS policy clearly stating that the issue should be given prominence in its curriculum, but it clearly lacks direction and systematic implementation by the sector. The study discovered that there was limited subject content coverage regarding HIV/AIDS on the formal education curriculum in practice and the regular face to face educational approach benefits only a small portion of the youth population. The formal education curriculum devotes only 0.2 % of the total instructional time in a year to the epidemic. Although Millennium Development Goals and the national Medium Term Development Strategy (MTDS) have charted HIV/AIDS as a critical development issue, it is not reflected in the formal education curriculum when it comes for implementation. The sector wide HIV/AIDS policy was seen to be suffering from a lack of institutional ownership and its policies are not vigorously implemented by its implementing agencies. // This has become a concern for the Open College of the University of Papua New Guinea, which is the flagship provider of Distance Education in PNG reaching out to more than 12,000 distance education students. Realising the urgent need for a curriculum on HIV/AIDS, the University Open college has had initial discussions with its network of open campuses and provincial study centres to develop a curriculum that will reach out to both distance learners as well as those in the formal system but by adopting a ODL methodology to address this curriculum need. By highlighting this need at the PCF5 conference it is intended to draw on experience and discussion among third world countries that are faced with similar challenges for a collaborative effort towards further developing this concept that should result in a separate HIV/AIDS curriculum for the country. // Paper ID 570

Papua New Guinea