Human Diversity and AIDS Orphanhood as Constraints to the Achievement of Educational Gender Equality in Uganda
The need to achieve education for all has been a global concern for decades now. Universal Primary Education (UPE) in Uganda was implemented in 1997 to help eradicate inequalities in school access, participation and dropout. After the implementation of UPE, regional and gender disparities in enrolment begun to dwindle. However, there is evidence that various aspects of inequality in participation, attendance, and dropout persist. Ethnographic research was carried out (from June 2004- June 2005) to understand reasons for the persistence of inequalities despite the implementation of UPE. This paper highlights the plight of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The research shows that despite the availability of Anti-retroviral therapy (ART), the socio-economic impact of HIV/AIDS remains unabated. One of the major impacts of HIV/AIDS is the creation of orphans. The government has made conscious efforts to address the problems of children in general. However, the nature of human and specifically orphan diversity presents a major challenge. There are various categories of orphans and other children affected by HIV/AIDS. The categories are due to gender, type of household headship, age, socio-economic status and status of AIDS affliction. The different categories of orphans each has unique problems which cannot be covered by a universal program. The study shows that most habitual absentees from school were female and older orphans rather than male and younger ones. In order to achieve education for all and specifically gender equality, there is a need for specific interventions targeting the enhancement of participation, attendance, survival and educational outcomes among the various categories of orphans and other children affected and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS in various ways.
Keywords: Gender Equality, Education, Diversity, AIDS Orphanhood, Children
Dr. Doris M. Kakuru
Lecturer, Department of Sociology, Makerere University