United Nations
Information Centre | Nepal
Review On : The Education Sector Response to HIV& AIDS In Nepal ( April 2009 )
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Young people comprise nearly one third of the total population in Nepal .They constitute largest proportion of people engaging in injecting drug use, unprotected paid sex and unprotected men to men sex. Studies have documented early initiation of these key risk behaviours among the young population in Nepal. At present, young people account more than half of all HIV infections. On the other hand, despite increase in general awareness,
comprehensive knowledge of the young people most at risk of HIV transmission is relatively low. Studies conducted with school adolescents have also documented their increased vulnerabilities to HIV infections. Though their awareness on modes of HIV transmission in urban areas is generally high, girl students and students from rural areas have demonstrated poor knowledge on HIV. Even the higher knowledge does not necessarily translate into safer sexual behaviours. In contrast to this, Nepal has a low coverage of HIV prevention programmes among the most at risk populations.
At present nine out of ten school age children are enrolled in school education in Nepal, and this trend is increasing. As compared to other institutions, schools have the highest institutional coverage in Nepal, and they are embedded well into the communities. They serve as available channels to disseminate structured educational messages to young people, and they have potential to reach to the wider community through their educational programmes.
Evidence recognises that young people attending schools are the least at risk and any intervention focused on them yields a low impact. There have been concerns that resources need to be allocated to the most at risk and vulnerable young people representing the three risk groups. Children are considered ‘windows of hope’ for containing and reversing HIV infection in the South Asia region, as they are ‘immunised’ with ‘shots’ of education.
Unfortunately, we have no hard data on which age group of young people are more prone to HIV, and how they can be most effectively reached. In this context, the role of schools to equip young people with information in their early years, and make them able to take healthy decisions and stop health compromising behaviours, appears promising. The role of education is important for providing the right educational messages on HIV prevention and mitigation, and reduction of stigma and discrimination against people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. UNESCO considers it as one important area that the education sector can contribute and make education sector response a low cost and high impact initiative.
In case of Nepal, we have no evidence on what the education sector has done to prevent HIV and mitigate its impact. To what level the education sector itself has been impacted by HIV and AIDS is also not known. Questions are often raised about what pedagogical and other approaches are being taken, and to what extent those approaches meet the needs of adolescents, teachers and MOE staff. This study initiated by UNESCO Nepal Office and supported by UN Country Team, MOE and MOH, intended to review all the efforts made in the education sector in order to prevent, manage, and mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS in Nepal. The study was commissioned to an independent consultant and conducted in February 2009.
The methodology of the study included a desk review of available policies, project documents, secondary analysis of available data, and key informant interviews. Despite a short time span and resources, the study drew upon a cross-section of UN, MOE and MOH authorities, HIV/AIDS policy level representatives, and related I/NGOs in Nepal.
UNESCO ,   (2009 )
Type / Script:
Publication in English
Thematic Group:
 UNESCO : Educational, Scientific and Cultural
10.03.02  -  Diseases And Carriers Of Diseases
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