In a series of workshops, the Higher Education and Training Health, Wellness and Development Centre trained 425 Life Orientation (LO) lecturers from TVET colleges across the country in the area of HIV Prevention and sexual and reproductive health and rights and strengthened assessments with regards to these issues. Of the 425 trained LO lecturers, 150 were identified as outstanding champions in the field of teaching Life Orientation, as they successfully incorporated their training into their classrooms and shared their knowledge with other TVET college lecturers from their institutions.

Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Buti Manamela, addressed these lecturers on Thursday, 19 July 2018, at the Southern Sun Hotel at OR Tambo International Airport and awarded them with certificates for their outstanding achievements. In his address to the Life Orientation lecturers the Deputy Minister highlighted the fact that “skills development remains the core mandate of the Department of Higher Education and Training”. Responding to the problem that the subjects of Life Orientation is often undervalued, he also reassured  the lecturers that government takes the subject of Life Orientation very seriously and that it is important that “our learners also realise that Life Orientation is as important as maths and other subjects”.

Aruna Singh, DHET Chief Director: Programmes and Qualifications, said that attending the HEAIDS workshops was a phenomenal experience: “When our lecturers left the training sessions, they were equipped to step into the classrooms the very next day and be comfortable to teach on issues of sexual health. The results were beyond of what I had expected. I would like to commend that”.

Two colleges were asked to share their lessons learned as part of the HEAIDS TVET Life Orientation programme. Lecturers from Capricorn TVET college in Limpopo highlighted that “without HEAIDS the Life Orientation curriculum” would be incomplete, while lecturers from Majuba College did not shy away from coming up with their own “Life Orientation rap” to teach their students about the principles of safer sex.

HEAIDS Technical Advisor in the CEO’s Office Ms Managa Pillay closed the event by highlighting the  commitment of the Life Orientation lecturers to the capacity building process and thanked the group for their hard work, commitment and passion: “Life Orientation Lecturers are notoriously undervalued in their institutions – the subject is not seen as a priority, which is very unfortunate given that  Life Orientation lecturers empower their students to take care of their physical and mental well-being and support them with important life skills and tools to become agents of change within their communities.”

She further expressed a commitment to continuing this work to ensure that Life Orientation is afforded the value that it deserves.

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