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The HIV/AIDS epidemic has a multiple impact on education, at
the structural, quantitative and qualitative levels. This impact can also
be identified at both national and regional/local levels - down to each
single family and child.

Assessing impact at the national level
Teacher posting becomes increasingly difficult.
from Zambia shows that trained teachers are concentrated in the
urban areas. This is nothing new, but the HIV/AIDS epidemic enhances
this trend. There has been a steady increase in the number of teachers
who, on medical grounds, must be posted near to hospitals, properly
staffed clinics or medical centres.

Providing qualified staff for the
rural areas thus becomes even more difficult than it used to be.
The loss of trained and experienced teachers and
interruption of teaching programmes due to illness will reduce
the quality of education.
Research shows that what teachers know
and are able to do is one of the most significant determinants of what
students learn. A study performed by Armour – Thomas
et al.
in 1989
found that teacher qualifications accounted for more than 90 per cent
of the variation in student achievement in mathematics and reading
across all grade levels.

The loss of the most qualified and experienced
teachers hence represents a serious threat to the quality of education.