Sue Blaine Education Correspondent, Business Day
Dr Olive Shisana, Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) CEO and president, said 12,7% of public sector teachers were HIV-positive and the disease was so advanced in 22% of cases that they needed antiretroviral drug therapy immediately.
Care and support for teachers has not been implemented because of overlaps between the education and health departments, said Shisana in Johannesburg at a workshop on what the sub-Saharan education sector was doing to combat HIV and AIDS.
SA was the epicentre of the global AIDS pandemic, with 14% of the world's HIV-positive people living in the country, she said. The country would face a massive teacher supply problem because 8,2% of student teachers were also HIV-positive. And to compound the problem further, most of the HIV-negative teachers told researchers they wanted to leave the profession. It was roughly estimated that about 220000 of South African pupils were already without a teacher due to HIV/AIDS, Shisana said.
SA and Africa needed to accelerate responses to the pandemic or face a serious teacher supply problem, said Dr Hamidou Boukary of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa.
Schools will close. There will be no teachers. We have to act quickly and strategically, he said.
Boukary said 30 years into the pandemic, Africa had no adequate responses to AIDS. Across sub-Saharan Africa it appeared teacher unions were taking the problem more seriously than governments, said the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Peter Babcock-Walters.