A study of the educational difficulties experienced by AIDS orphans in 5 Ugandan Secondary schools
This thesis is concerned with the educational implications of becoming an AIDS orphan in Uganda. Bereavement is a sensitive topic which many find difficult to discuss with adolescents, even harder if it is HIV/AIDS - related. However the number of AIDS orphans in Uganda is high and a considerable number of them are in school. The main purpose of this study was to investigate what problems such students face and what resources are available to them in schools to help them cope with the loss of their parent/s. Questionnaires and interviews were designed to investigate the perceptions of those in direct or indirect contact with these orphans and with the orphans themselves. They were administered to 5 headteachers, 56 teachers and 400 students from 5 secondary schools. Responses to the questionnaires were analysed, using descriptive statistical techniques, and associations were tested. Interviews were carried out with 5 headteachers, 20 teachers, 25 orphans, a school counsellor, two teacher training lecturers, staff of 4 nongovernmental organisations and an educational officer. Categories and themes were developed using the data, the literature and the research questions. These were then compared across the different schools and respondents. The study found that the identification of AIDS orphans was usually complicated by the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS. Though a substantial number of the orphans were facing multi-variant problems, there were no or very limited resources open to the students to help them cope with the loss of their parent/s. Such students are at risk of dropping out or failing in school and hence access to one of the most important chances in life is denied. These children are also at risk of being socially excluded. Conclusions based on the results of the study were drawn and recommendations made.