An examination of school leader's perceptions of the impact of HIV/AIDS on selected primary schools in Zimbabwe
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Because the HIV/AIDS pandemic continues to have a profound impact on Africa, this study seeks to understand Zimbabwe primary school leaders' perspectives on the impact of HIV/AIDS on the everyday operations of their schools, and on their leadership roles and practices. The study utilized a mixed methods design to examine the perceptions of primary school heads in Zimbabwe regarding HIV/AID education practices at the local level in 2000. The study was both quantitative and qualitative in nature, investigating school leaders' perceptions regarding HIV/AIDS program by utilizing both a questionnaire and interviews. In addition, the study included examination of national data and policies on HIV/AIDS education. The theoretical framework of the study derives from three bodies of literature: education in Zimbabwe, moral and ethical frameworks, and AIDS education for primary age children. Findings. The survey revealed differences between rural and urban school heads that reflected their local community situation. School leaders in Zimbabwe agree that HIV/AIDS was having an impact on the operation of their local schools. Political history, economic conditions, cultural values and norms have an influence on the types of HIV/AIDS programs promoted and implemented in Zimbabwe. The majority of the rural area leaders did not feel confident about their understanding of the recommended HIV/AIDS education and stressed that their community lack the resources needed to assist with the AIDS orphans crisis. But both urban and rural school leaders stated the need of involving local citizens need to be active participants in the design,implementation, and assessment of the HIV/AIDS. Implications. While it was difficult to conduct further field research at this time due to the country's political and economical instability, the researcher's recent visits to the country, as well as new studies and data, show that the situation is even more desperate today than we the research was originally conducted. A study needs to look at how school leaders can collaborate with already existing communitybased organizations to design programs that reflect the cultures, traditions, and communities in which they exist by utilizing local citizens and come up with effective responses to HIV/AIDS.
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