UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

HIV/AIDS THREATENS EDUCATOR-LEARNER RATIOS

STATEMENT ISSUED BY PROF LM MBADI, MP
UDM SPOKESPERSON FOR EDUCATION

The UDM expresses its concern at the threat posed by HIV/AIDS to education. In 2006 the class ratio will be 50 pupils per teacher, despite the attempts by the Department of Education to decrease the educator-pupil ratio from 47 in 1994 to 34 at present.

Other HIV/AIDS-related factors affecting the ratio are illnesses and deaths amongst educators and learners, an increase in orphans and a lack of hope amongst children with HIV/AIDS. This would also affect the dropout rates of learners as the rate of learners with HIV/AIDS increases, or as learners leave school to care for parents and family members living with HIV/AIDS.

Additional factors such as poverty, psychological, emotional and psychiatric trauma in dealing with deaths of family members and cost of medical, psychiatric and psychological treatment all exacerbate an already gloomy forecast. This forecast also has a profound impact on the education of our nation.

The UDM calls on the Minister of Education to urgently place contingency plans in action to adequately deal with this threat that has both social and economic implications.

Prof Mtutuzeli Mbadi, MP
UDM Spokesperson for Education

Cape Town
07 June 2001.