Education/Lifeskills/Prevention, 07 October 2002, Schools 'way behind' in Aids, life-skills training, Alet Rademeyer

Pretoria - The department of education is concerned that only about 12% of South Africa's primary-school and high-school teachers have been trained in life skills, which includes training involving HIV/Aids.

The sixth report on the progress of education in the provinces, which has just been submitted to President Thabo Mbeki, shows that 14.4% of primary-school teachers and 5.9% of high-school teachers countrywide have been trained.

Only the Free State and the Western Cape have trained more than 20% of their primary-school teachers in life skills.

Another concern is that provinces have reached only about 80% of their schools. It is unclear why all schools have not been reached in the two years since the implementation of the Tirisano programme.

Of the 21 651 primary schools in South Africa, the life skills and HIV/Aids programme has reached 13 951. Of 252 150 teachers, 36 335 have been trained in the subject.

Only 4 514 of the 6 321 high schools countrywide have been reached by the programme. A mere 6 709 of the 113 247 high school teachers have been trained in the programme.

R45.5m of Aids-training money spent

The report states there was a significant improvement in the province's expenditure of the grants for Aids training in the 2001/02 book year. The provinces had spent only R6.2m on Aids training in the previous year.

About R45.5m of the available R74.8m was spent up to March this year. That is about 71.7% of the money.

"The expenditure of 71.7% is still insufficient. It is very disappointing that the Western Cape and Limpopo (Northern Province) spent less than 30% of their grants," says the report.

In Gauteng, the department received a grant of R32m for infrastructure. The goal to build 100 schools was lowered to 26 because of budgetary constraints. In Limpopo, where there is a backlog of 16 548 classrooms, 484 new ones were built.

In the Eastern Cape, about R700m has been spent on infrastructure in the past seven years. More than 300 schools were built and 2 004 emergency classrooms erected. In the Free State, 263 classrooms were erected and 17 new schools built.