The purpose of this study was to explore the views of principals and educators regarding the impact of HIV/AIDS in their schools; to identify the aspects of the National Policy related to HIV/AIDS that are relevant to the management of school-based HIV/AIDS policy in selected schools; to determine how school-based HIV/AIDS policy is implemented in those schools, to explore how principals and educators experience the management of the implementation of school-based HIV /AIDS policy; and to identify the challenges experienced by the principals and the educators as well as the strategies they use in implementing school-based HIV/AIDS policy. The main research question was: What are the experiences of principals and educators in the management of school-based HIV/AIDS policy implementation?
The study focused on four high schools in the Klein Letaba Circuit in the district of Mopani in Limpopo Province. In order to investigate the experiences of educators and their views about present-day HIV/AIDS school-based policies and their implementation, the researcher used a qualitative research approach that is phenomenological in nature. The research design was a multi-site case study involving two participants from each of the four selected schools; a total of eight participants were involved in the study. Purposive sampling was used to select a principal and one Life Orientation educator from each of the schools. Semi-structured interviews and document analysis formed part of the data collection process.
The findings of the study revealed that the management of school-based HIV/AIDS implementation is a challenge in schools in the Klein Letaba Circuit. The researcher found that HIV/AIDS impacts negatively on learners' abilities to attend school; on effective teaching and learning; the performance of learners; the behaviour of orphaned learners; and the responsibilities of educators. The study further revealed that schools included factors, such as discrimination, admission, voluntary testing, the exemption of compulsory school attendance for learners with ill-health and learner safety during sporting activities in their school-based policies. In terms of the implementation of school-based HIV/AIDS policy, the study revealed that all stakeholders need to know the contents of the policy, and be involved in its formulation and implementation. Life orientation and classroom rules support for affected learners and Health Advisory Committees may be used to communicate information about HIV/AIDS. The study also revealed that awareness; respect; trust; talking openly about HIV/AIDS; the involvement of the wider community in managing HIV/AIDS; and increasing the knowledge of educators on issue related to HIV/AIDS are strategies that work well in managing the implementation of HIV/AIDS policy. The study identified ignorance; denial; lack of awareness; and educators' extra workloads as challenges which hinder the effective implementation of a school-based HIV/AIDS policy.