Indonesian Schools Should Develop Innovative HIV/AIDS Education Programs For Youth

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Schools in Indonesia should develop innovative approaches to teachingabout HIV/AIDS to help prevent the spread of the disease among youth,executive chair of the Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO, Arief Rachman, said last week, the Jakarta Postreports. Rachman was speaking at the close of a workshop for secondaryschool teachers on HIV/AIDS prevention in Jakarta, Indonesia.Thirty-two schools, including religious institutions, from Jakarta andseveral other cities participated in the workshop, which featureddiscussions and presentations on various approaches to educatingstudents about HIV/AIDS.


The approaches included a guidance andcounseling program; a method based on an Islamic perspective; and acollaborative teaching approach that uses online learning through the International Education and Resource Network. The last method also engages nongovernmental organizations that specialize in HIV/AIDS work, the Post reports.

"Teachersare the spearheads of the prevention process," Mira Fajar Aviatri,national program officer for HIV/AIDS and school health at thecommission, said, adding, "They are the ones facing the students on aday-to-day basis, so they know what exactly awaits them in the field."She noted that the workshop was a "good start to display thealternative methods available for implementing HIV preventioneducation, which can be accommodated with school's curricula." Mirasaid some faith-based schools might be reluctant to abandon theirreligious teachings and discuss HIV/AIDS in depth, but she applaudedthe participants' eagerness to share their experiences, the Postreports. Mira also said that the emphasis some school curricula placeon cognitive learning poses a challenge to implementing effectiveHIV/AIDS prevention lessons. "Time is really a constraint for ourteachers, particularly since schools are mainly focused on the output-- on how many students graduate from schools," she said, adding, "Soyou could imagine how heavy the teachers' burdens are in creativelydelivering HIV/AIDS education alongside other pressing expectations."

Also at the workshop, UNESCO Bangkokrepresentative Simon Baker announced that the organization will hold anational competition for educators to develop the most innovativeapproaches to teaching HIV/AIDS prevention. "The competition is forschool teachers to create the best lesson plans for HIV/AIDS," Bakersaid, adding that "in addition to a financial reward, the best actionplan will hopefully be posted on the Internet for others to learn" (Jakarta Post, 6/28).

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