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Type Working Paper - CSSR Working Paper No. 137
Title There is no other way out: Educational decision-making in an era of AIDS: How do HIV-positive mothers value education?
Issue 137
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2005
Page numbers 1-37
This paper examines the logic behind some of the hypotheses found in influential studies and literature on the potential impact of HIV/AIDS on affected people’s values in life, and more specifically, on the value they attach to education. It has been suggested that caregivers or children, faced with illness, death and a decreased life expectancy as a consequence of AIDS, might no longer be interested in investing in education. However, there does not appear to be any detailed empirical research on how AIDS does make an impact on people’s values in life, their views on the future or the value attached to education. This paper begins to investigate how affected caregivers value education for both themselves and their children. The sample comprised ten HIV-positive mothers, nine of whom have at least one child of school-going age. One group discussion and five in-depth interviews were conducted, using semi-structured questionnaires. This research suggests that HIV-positive mothers are, in fact, strongly inclined to invest in their own education and especially their children’s education. As caregivers, they have an increased sense of the importance of independence for both themselves and their children, and they regard education as the means to achieve that independence. Hence, providing schooling for their children is an intrinsic part of their caregiving.

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