This is a scientific exploration of the manner in which HIV/AIDS impacts upon the adolescents that are orphaned by AIDS and obliged to live in a child-headed household. What is apparent is that empirical research based on the socio-educational conditions of orphans in child-headed households is a neglected field of study since there is mainly anecdotal evidence of the phenomenon. The central issues of the study are the socio-educational impact of the pandemic upon such children. This study aims to explore, describe and interpret the phenomenon of HIV/AIDS within the context of the participants’ (adolescents in child-headed households) perspectives of their life-world. Apart from endeavouring to gain an insight into the way in which the social and educational aspects of the adolescents’ lives are affected the study attempts to create an awareness that will assist NGOs and the Departments of Education and Welfare in their effort to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS. The research abides by a qualitative methodology and an interpretive approach since the children are to be studied in their natural setting of their homes. The researcher employed a face-to-face technique in the form of interviews and observations of the adolescents in their natural environments as well as the Sack’s Sentence Completion Technique to accumulate data for the investigation. The social epidemiology theory served as a theoretical framework for this study. Findings of the study have revealed that HIV/AIDS has a definite negative impact on the social and educational lives of orphans in child-headed households. The study has further revealed that poverty, the lack of support and social discrimination experienced by the orphan in child-headed households, impact negatively on their social lives and education. Further, this research has exposed that orphans in child-headed households are vulnerable since they carry the burden of stigma and discrimination. These unfortunate children are forced to abandon their schooling because of financial constraints, and in many cases take care of ailing parents and assume adult responsibilities in their homes. Also, the South African Educational system has not adapted in keeping with current trends and needs to create more flexible learning opportunities that cater for children who will otherwise have to abandon their studies.
Dissertation (MEd (Curriculum Studies))--University of Pretoria, 2005.