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Influence of culture and religion on HIV and sexuality education among South African secondary school teacher

Promtussananon Supa

Abstract


South Africa is characteristically a multi-culture and religious society. It was on this premise that this study sought to investigate the influence of culture and religion on HIV and sexuality education in South African secondary schools. The study was conducted on 150 randomly selected secondary school teachers using semi-structured interview with open-ended questions. The QSR Nvivo computer programme was used for data analysis. Results showed that about half of the teachers (52.6%) indicated that culture and religion did not influence their provision of HIV and sexuality education. These teachers explained that teaching HIV and sexuality education is as normal as teaching other subjects. The teachers added that the advent of HIV/AIDS would have created the prevailing religious and cultural tolerance sexuality education is receiving. Few of the teachers reported that they offered HIV and sexuality education regardless of cultural and religious beliefs. 71 teachers (47.4%) indicated that religion and culture independently or together influenced their HIV and sexuality education exercises. 56.3% of the 71 teachers specified that their teaching was mostly influenced by their students' cultures and religions. The remaining 43.7% of the 71 teachers indicated that their teaching was mainly driven by their own cultural and religious values and beliefs. The major implication of this finding is that culture and religion interfered with the standard HIV and sexuality education protocol in about half of the cases. The influence of such interference was varied. While it remains beyond the scope of this study to establishing the effect of such interference, it remains important to note that such interference poses the risk of compromising the programme.
Key words: Teachers, culture, religion, sexuality education, secondary school, HIV, South Africa.
AJPHERD Vol.11(1) 2005: 17-32



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