oa South African Journal of Higher Education - Inclusion of HIV education into a third-year communication course for students of Engineering and the Built Environment

Volume 30, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



University graduates enter the workplace having immediate influence and, frequently, progress rapidly to managerial positions. The knowledge-sharing space a university allows can go beyond set curricula to ensure these graduates acquire information on and develop appropriate attitudes to health and social problems into the workplace. Five streams of engineers and construction students were asked to volunteer for a six-month pilot study as part of their Professional Communication Studies course. The study was aligned with the aims of the National Strategic Plan for HIV, STIs and TB (2012-2016) which addresses the structural, social, economic and behavioural factors driving the HIV and TB epidemics. The study sample consisted of 41 students, out of a group of 56, who voluntarily attended a weekend workshop and presented their research on the topic of HIV. Results indicated that while the majority of students were knowledgeable about the infection, transmission and treatment options, there was incorrect knowledge concerning other issues such as stigma and workplace discrimination. Conclusions described the experience as positive and reported that the debates in the focus groups on social and public issues were valued. The group's recommendation was that this theme and the assignment should be included in the core course and not be a voluntary additional item.

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