Switzerland and partners launch HIV/AIDS teaching curriculum model in Zimbabwe

Local news, 04.07.2019

Zimbabwe has become the latest country to launch the Swiss supported Care and Support for Teaching and Learning (CSTL) model aimed at reducing HIV/AIDS infections and improve sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) among school going children in Southern Africa.

Switzerland and partners launch HIV/AIDS teaching curriculum model in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s First Lady, Mrs. Auxillia Mnangagwa at the official launch of the Care and Support for Teaching and Learning model in Harare, Zimbabwe. © Embassy of Switzerland in Zimbabwe.

Speaking at the official launch of the CSLT initiative in Harare, the guest of honour First Lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa, said the CSLT model will bring a more comprehensive approach to inclusive school learning in Zimbabwe which will be characterized by shared decision-making, collaboration, and teamwork in communities where the schools exist.

“By launching the CSTL framework, Zimbabwe has reached a critical milestone in fulfilling the requirements of the SADC policy framework on care and support for teaching and learning adopted in 2008 by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Education Ministers.

“The goal of the CSTL framework is to realise the educational rights of all children, including those who are most vulnerable, through schools becoming inclusive centres of learning, care and support. The CSTL framework intends to prevent and mitigate factors that have a negative impact on the enrolment, retention, performance and progression of vulnerable learners in schools by addressing barriers to learning and teaching,” said the First Lady.

Speaking at the same occasion, the Minister of Education, Professor Paul Mavima said the CSLT initiative started as a pilot project in 15 selected schools around Zimbabwe and that successes registered in the CSTL pilot project have led to the national roll-out.

“As the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, we are in charge of about a third of the country’s population, translating to about 4,5 million learners, hence we need to properly manage the school environment to provide optimum care for the children of Zimbabwe,” said Mavima.

The importance of preventing HIV infections among young people in the SADC region has been one of the consistent message by Switzerland and its partner Media in Education Trust (MIET) Africa through its Regional Cooperation Strategy for Southern Africa.

The CSTL initiative is implemented at school level, national level and at the regional level. At the heart of the program lies capacity building for school-community partnership to identify barriers to teaching and learning and provide inclusive schools that welcome every child.

Accurate and comprehensive knowledge about HIV is still low among school going age adolescents in the region and investment in education is highly needed, hence the support to the CSTL model.

While targeting only seven of the sixteen countries in the SADC bloc, other countries have sought guidance on using the CSTL Framework and are currently using it to respond to HIV and AIDS in their education sectors. Through Annual Sharing meetings facilitated by the MIET, other SADC member states receive evidence based and state of the art guidance on CSTL implementation to address barriers to teaching and learning. The CSTL programme has also been rolled out for pre and in service teachers to equip.

Switzerland has been supporting the CSLT in the SADC region for the last 15 years, culminating in the signing of the SADC Framework on Care and Support for Teaching and Learning in June 2016 and Zimbabwe is one of the seven SADC Member States where the framework has been translated into a national model.