Integration of HIV/AIDS Information into School Curriculum and Textbooks in Mainstream Education in Bangladesh

In 2007, HIV/AIDS information was incorporated in the curriculum and textbooks of mainstream education at secondary and higher secondary level from grades VI to XII including madrasha (religious schools) and English version schools following the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) curriculum in Bangladesh.

Development of the curriculum and texts followed a bottom up approach with rigorous consultation and sharing with the concerned stakeholders at national, sub-national and community level.

The stakeholders at different levels included: policy makers, program managers, opinion leaders, religious leaders, media people, professionals, civil society, guardians, teachers and students.

   
HIV/AIDS information in textbook    Meeting with Education Ministry   Local level sharing meeting 

The process of development of the curriculum and texts involved needs assessment, opinion building dialogues/workshops/meeting with stakeholders at different levels; developing several drafts and sharing those with the stakeholders in workshops/meetings/individual interaction and piloting those in 88 secondary level education institutions through classroom teaching by teachers trained on HIV/AIDS in grades VI to X, preparing the final draft by addressing the piloting results and sharing those with the stakeholders, and finalizing the texts through a high level committee consisting of representatives from different Ministries, Islamic Foundation, National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB), professionals, educationists, sociologist, psychologist, HIV experts, teachers and guardians.  Flowchart of the entire process of development of curriculum and texts is available at Link-B-.pdf

       
 Students’ opinion    Classroom teaching of HIV/AIDS    Final review of texts by high level committee

The texts for different grades were developed in an incremental way and in a culturally sensitive manner considering the age and grade of the students.  The main features of the texts for different grades are provided in Link-C.pdf

Challenges Faced and How they were Resolved

  1. In general, the stakeholders at the community and education institution levels were not in favor of teaching HIV/AIDS in the classroom.This was overcome by sensitizing them with information about the severity of HIV infection globally and regionally including some Muslim countries, and the risk of Bangladesh for HIV/AIDS epidemic because of its surrounding countries with high rate of HIV infection.Example of high infection rate of HIV/AIDS in some Muslim countries was convincing to many that Bangladesh, through a muslim country, was at risk of HIV infection.Secondly, the draft curriculum and texts for different grades were extensively shared with different stakeholders at the community/local level, their concerns/opinions were addressed and the sensitivity about some words and statements were minimized.  The support of popular teachers, students, opinion leaders, local influentials and their trust on the credible educationists and professionals in the project team contributed significantly to obtaining support from the local level.
  2. There were serious opposition from selected individuals at the national level who even tried to mobilize and build opinions in several ways against inclusion of HIV/AIDS information in school education.All these were protected by timely interventions of some high level policy makers, national level opinion leaders from the civil society as well as high level politicians.Finally, there were serious objections from the Islamic Foundation which was met up by forming a national level review committee including representatives from the Islamic Foundation.  The review committee went through curriculum and texts very carefully, made necessary modifications and finalized the curriculum and texts from grades VI to XII.

Key word: Curriculum, texts, bottom up, needs assessment, piloting, stakeholders, sharing and inclusiveness.

Key Elements to the Success

In the context of cultural sensitivity about HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh, it was very challenging to integrate HIV/AIDS in the mainstream school education.  The success was made through a bottom up, systematic, strategic, inclusive and professional approach by an experienced and committed team.  A few of the elements/approach that are key to success include the following:

  • Formed a committed and credible working group consisting of curriculum experts, senior educationists, sociologist, psychologist, HIV/AIDS experts and national level policy planners.
  • Conducted an in-depth needs assessment study obtaining views of key stakeholders – students, teachers and guardians, used those findings in opinion building meetings at policy level and in developing draft of curriculum and texts.
  • Inclusiveness of all relevant stakeholders at all levels – national, sub-national and community level, and addressing their concerns was an important factor for the success.

High level commitment and unified persistent efforts of the working team and dealing with all difficult situations and barriers professionally with care and patience, and working at odd hours were also key to the success.

   

The textbooks with HIV/AIDS information

   
         

Note:
Country: Bangladesh
Sponsor: National AIDS/STD Programme (NASP), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
Implementing Agency: PIACT Bangladesh
Management Agency: Save the Children International (then SC USA)
Donor: Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) 

 

Attachments:
Download this file (Link-B-.pdf)Link-B-.pdf[ ]4758 Kb
Download this file (Link-C.pdf)Link-C.pdf[ ]25 Kb

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