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Tulane University

Publication Date

Fall 2019

Program Name

South Africa: Community Health and Social Policy


The purpose of this study was to understand learners’ perceptions of the role schools play in health promotion. Health promotion encompasses health education and can be highly effective in the school setting. Given the high rates of HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, early sexual debut, and abuse, health education is highly important in South African schools. All learners are required to take Life Orientation classes, which cover many topics including health education. Comparing the views of what learners expect, experience, and the curriculum, my study addressed the gaps in Life Orientation classes with regards to health promotion education.

For this study I utilized a mixed methodology approach using both surveys and interviews. My sample population was young people who had recently graduated high school, aged 18-24. Through the survey I collected quantitative data and used qualitative data collected through interviews to deepen my understanding of the Life Orientation experience. Using both methods, I analyzed the data through graphs, quotes, and patterns found during interviews.

Overall, I found that participants do view schools as important in health education. Many found Life Orientation classes to be impactful in certain health aspects of their lives—specifically in safe sex behaviors and HIV/AIDS education. However, participants reported issues in the implementation of Life Orientation classes and many were opposed to the proposed changes to the curriculum. Participants found Life Orientation to be impactful but had recommendations to increase its effectiveness.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Health and Physical Education | Health Communication | Medicine and Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Secondary Education | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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