The perceptions of Junior Secondary School Teachers and students on the infusion of safe male circumcision education into the religious education syllabus
Thobega, Elizabeth Queen
PublisherUniversity of Botswana, www.ub.bw
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Safe Male Circumcision (SMC) is one of the contemporary issues in Botswana in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Both government and the private sector continue to fight the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Currently, there are school based curriculum programs in which HIV and AIDS related information is infused. However, despite the existence of a curriculum that incorporates HIV and AIDS information, people still lack knowledge about SMC as one of the tools to fight HIV and AIDS. The purpose of this study was to investigate and establish the perceptions of junior secondary school teachers and students on whether safe male circumcision education could be infused into the Religious Education (RE) syllabus in Botswana junior secondary schools. The study was adopted a qualitative approach. The study was informed by Social Norms Theory which mainly deals with societal views and attitudes and in this case it is in relation to safe male circumcision. The study sampled 144 students and 18 RE teachers from six junior secondary schools in Gaborone. Data was collected through focus group discussion for students, and semi structured interviews for Religious Education teachers. Data was analysed qualitatively using thematic analysis. The study revealed that the participants supported the infusion of safe male circumcision into Religious Education syllabus. They stated that infusion of safe male circumcision will help the students to have knowledge about the benefits of safe male circumcision and also the strategies that could be used to address the challenges were outlined. They also stated that after learning about safe male circumcision students will make decision on whether to go for circumcision or not. Basing on the findings, this study recommends that practising teachers should be trained on the infusion of safe male circumcision before it can be implemented. Schools should be adequately resourced with relevant materials such as pupils’ and teachers’ textbooks and guides.