Zomba: 2011. 18 p.
University of Malawi, Centre for Social Research
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), life skills are defined as the abilities for adaptive and positive behaviours that enable individuals to effectively deal with demands and challenges of everyday life (WHO, 1993). Life Skills Education (LSE) and Sexual Reproductive Health Education have been introduced in Malawi's schools by the Ministry of Education as an integrated initiative. This combination aims to enable youths to acquire knowledge, values, attitudes and skills to avoid contracting sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/ AIDS, as well as to cope with the challenges of everyday life. It also seeks to develop and sustain positive behaviours in the youth through their active involvement in the teaching and learning process. This study reveals: - the positive view of teachers regarding the LSE and Sexual Reproductive Health Education initiative but, at the same time, the new challenges they must overcome regarding availability of teaching resources, inadequate trained staff and discomfort over discussions that might be traditionally considered as taboo; - students have to contend other difficulties such as the lack of appropriate educational material, as well as the irregularity of classes; - parents have to contend the idea that certain myths and traditional values will be scrutinized and therefore, rejected by their children. The paper concludes that, even though the statements on the impact of LSE are based more on anecdotal evidence than on empirical facts, the implementation of LSE had revealed both positive and negative impacts.
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