University of Sussex
Mwangulube, Wezi.pdf (2.78 MB)

Understanding the development and enactment of Life Skills HIV-Based Education (LS[B]E) in Malawi

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posted on 2023-06-10, 02:12 authored by Wezi MwangulubeWezi Mwangulube
This thesis explores how the Life Skills HIV-Based Education LS[B]E is developed and enacted in the Malawian education syllabus to address Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection in youth. Malawi’s HIV and AIDS education are mainly guided by the Malawi Education Act and the Malawi Education Policy alongside other specific policies which then help guide what HIV and AIDS prevention interventions are to be developed and followed. The primary aim of the study is to understand how LS[B]E is developed, and implemented, through the understanding of the main actors involved in the formulation of the curriculum and the teacher and student experiences of its enactment in the classroom. This study is an interpretive qualitative study conducted in Malawi with semi-structured individual interviews with policy makers in government, representatives of international agencies and civil society organizations. In order to capture classroom practice, data was collected at local secondary school level, using semi-structured interviewsfor LS[B]E and welfare teachers, teacher classroom observations, and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with selected students. The study is guided by two key research questions, namely: what are the ideas and discourses that influence the development of the LS[B]E curriculum in Malawi and how is it organized for teaching, learning and assessment?; and how do teachers implement, and students experience the developed LS[B]E curriculum at classroom level?. The findings of the first research question reveal the complexities of the LS[B]E curriculum development process. Specifically, it shows the interplay and contestations between national and international actors in its development and the lack of meaningful participation by parents and students for whom the curriculum is intended. Further, the study findings show how strong conservative moralist views shape the final LS[B]E curriculum that is eventually developed. The findings of the second research question reveal the complex world in which teachers operate and how this impacts their pedagogic enactment of the LS[B]E curriculum. The finding draw attention to how teacher actions are shaped by the incentives made available to them, the training they receive and the expectation from the local community. Specifically, the research reveals how teachers navigate the conflicting demands on their work whilst ensuring student learning about HIV and AIDS in their lessons. In addition, the classroom practices reveal how teachers’ own personal beliefs and understandings of their vocation influence which areas of LS[B]E curriculum they emphasize on certain areas more than others. Data from the student reveal how their engagement with the teacher and participation in LS[B]E learning is shaped by teacher actions and pedagogy. Further, students reveal the disjuncture between what they learn about HIV and AIDS at school and their understanding and knowledge from home and community. The study adds knowledge about the development and implementation of LS[B]E curricula and how sensitive and controversial topics are enacted in Malawian schools, addressing a key knowledge gap in the context. The study recommends that policymakers and practitioners pay attention to the views of teachers and students in developing LSBE curricula as their experiences and practice mediate how it is realized. Further the study recommends that education researchers undertake a larger study in an urban conventional secondary school to explore whether there are any similarities in how the LS[B]E curriculum is enacted in such settings.


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University of Sussex

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