Indonesian Schools Should Develop Innovative HIV/AIDS Education Programs for Youth, UNESCO Says
Schools in Indonesia should develop innovative approaches to teaching about 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 Post reports. Rachman was speaking at the close of a workshop for secondary school teachers on HIV/AIDS prevention in Jakarta, Indonesia. Thirty-two schools, including religious institutions, from Jakarta and several other cities participated in the workshop, which featured discussions and presentations on various approaches to educating students about HIV/AIDS.
The approaches included a guidance and counseling program; a method based on an Islamic perspective; and a collaborative 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.
"Teachers are the spearheads of the prevention process," Mira Fajar Aviatri, national program officer for HIV/AIDS and school health at the commission, said, adding, "They are the ones facing the students on a day-to-day basis, so they know what exactly awaits them in the field." She noted that the workshop was a "good start to display the alternative methods available for implementing HIV prevention education, which can be accommodated with school's curricula." Mira said some faith-based schools might be reluctant to abandon their religious teachings and discuss HIV/AIDS in depth, but she applauded the participants' eagerness to share their experiences, the Post reports. Mira also said that the emphasis some school curricula place on cognitive learning poses a challenge to implementing effective HIV/AIDS prevention lessons. "Time is really a constraint for our teachers, particularly since schools are mainly focused on the output -- on how many students graduate from schools," she said, adding, "So you could imagine how heavy the teachers' burdens are in creatively delivering HIV/AIDS education alongside other pressing expectations."
Also at the workshop, UNESCO Bangkok representative Simon Baker announced that the organization will hold a national competition for educators to develop the most innovative approaches to teaching HIV/AIDS prevention. "The competition is for school teachers to create the best lesson plans for HIV/AIDS," Baker said, adding that "in addition to a financial reward, the best action plan will hopefully be posted on the Internet for others to learn" (Jakarta Post, 6/28).