Despite various HIV and AIDS training programmes offered for educators by the South African Department of Education, little has been achieved at the level of management in terms of creating a wider understanding of the social and cultural complexities of the condition and its impact on the quality of teaching and learning. Specifically, there is a lack of developmental programmes to help school principals provide leadership that can ensure that teachers and children who live in a context affected by the disease will still find themselves in a school environment of quality, care and compassion. With this in mind, we conducted a qualitative research enquiry among a sample of 12 school principals in the Eastern Cape Province in order to discover their perceptions about the impacts of HIV and AIDS on their schools and to learn how they have responded to the corresponding challenges. Our intention was to use the findings primarily to inform the development of an academic programme and short courses to empower school principals and leadership in this regard, but the findings may also be relevant as a guide for research on a larger scale.
Keywords: educational management, qualitative research, quality of education, response, risk perceptions, school health education, socio-cultural aspects
African Journal of AIDS Research 2008, 7(1): 111–121