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EFA Flagship Initiatives



The Initiative on the Impact of HIV/AIDS on Education


The links between HIV/AIDS and the education sector have become increasinglyevident. Good quality education is a powerful tool against HIV/AIDS.

However, the HIV/AIDS pandemic impacts on learning opportunities and education systems in a myriad of ways. In fact, HIV/AIDS threatens the evelopment of education, through the sickness and death of policy makers, teachers and administrators and through damage to the resource base.

On the supply side, evidence has suggested that teachers are among the professional groups considered most at risk. Sub-Saharan Africa in particular is experiencing a sharp increase in the mortality rates of teachers:

An estimated 860,000 children lost their teachers to AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa in 1999. About 1,000 teachers - or half of those trained annually - are dying of AIDS each year in Zambia, for example, while the disease caused 85 per cent of 300 teacher deaths in the Central African Republic in 2000.

Teacher absenteeism - due to illness, attendance at funerals, patient care at home, and psychological trauma - has risen sharply, affecting the education itself qualitatively and quantitatively as well as increasing sector costs.

On the demand side, AIDS is likely to affect the trends of the school-age population in many countries. According to the Report on the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic (2002):

508,000 children aged 0-14 years died from AIDS in 2001.

Some 14 million children aged 0-14 years have lost one or both of their parents.

The proportion of orphans to all children in Africa, estimated at about 2 per cent prior to the epidemic, has now risen to 15 - 20 per cent in some African countries.

Further enrolments could be lowered due to incidence of drop-out of orphans.

HIV/AIDS is likely to increase education sector costs in a context where the adverse macro-economic impacts of the pandemic affect domestic resource availability in the public sector, and constrain the flow of resources from the private and household sectors. According to the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2002, HIV/AIDS is estimated to add US$975 million per year to the cost of achieving EFA. This reflects:

The incremental teacher costs for training additional teachers to replace those lost to AIDS and for the payment of death benefits;

The costs of training and paying temporary teachers to replace those on extended periods of sick leave;

The incremental school and education programme costs for mainstreaming HIV/AIDS preventive education in curricular and -ther areas of school life, and;

The social subsidies to encourage or enable the school attendance of orphans and vulnerable children from families affected by AIDS.

Most of the problems outlined above affect negatively the education process and quality.


This flagship aims at contributing to the implementation of the Dakar Framework for Action, especially with regard to the following strategy: "To achieve EFA goals will necessitate putting HIV/AIDS as the highest priority in the most affected countries, with strong, sustained political commitment; mainstreaming HIV/AIDS perspectives in all aspects of policy; redesigning teacher training and curricula; and significantly enhancing resources to these efforts" (Expanded Commentary on the Dakar Framework for Action, Strategy 7, para. 62). More concretely, the flagship seeks to address the impact of AIDS on education through effective skills-based prevention education using formal and non-formal approaches. Education remains a powerful and proven tool for prevention.



The activities undertaken so far include:

Capacity-building to accelerate the education sector response to HIV/AIDS, especially in Africa.

Development and endorsement by some fifteen partners of "HIV/AIDS and Education: A Strategic Approach", that provides a framework of action.

The establishment of a technical resource facility to help countries respond to the impact of AIDS in the education sector with the cooperation of Inter-Agency Task Team.

The carrying-out of a 100-country survey of national level policy and practice in education and HIV/AIDS.

The preparation of an overview of the relationship between HIV/AIDS, gender and education to inform the EFA Global Monitoring Report.


Partners include ILO, UNESCO, UNAIDS Secretariat, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, World Bank, key bilateral donor agencies, international non-governmental organizations working in education and individual experts.

Contact Information:

Alexandra Draxler
Focal Point for HIV/AIDS
International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP/UNESCO)
7-9, Rue Eugène Delacroix
75116 Paris, France
Phone: +33 (0) 1 45 03 77 38
Fax: + 33 (0) 1 40 72 83 66