|Dr. Tatenda Zinyemba
Effects of HIV on Children and Youth's Educational Attainment
Wim Groot and Milena Pavlova
It has been 40 years since the first cases of HIV were identified. Since then, an estimated 76 million people have been infected globally and about half of these cases have been fatal. The loss of human capital due to morbidity and mortality issues related to the disease has brought about a significant loss to families and economies overall, particularly in SSA, where 70% of HIV-infected individuals reside. This dissertation seeks to examine the effects of HIV on inter-and intragender gaps in educational attainment in SSA using mixed-method studies in Zimbabwe. The dissertation relies on four studies that use data from the existing literature, quantitative data from the Demographic Health Surveys (DHS), qualitative data collected at Mashambanzou Care Trust in Zimbabwe, and a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods. The findings mainly show that while there is gender parity in primary and secondary education in Zimbabwe, HIV-positive girls still lag in educational attainment. The dissertation also highlights that there is both a level-of-education effect and a cohort effect in how HIV affects educational attainment among males in Zimbabwe. That is, HIV mainly has an effect at the tertiary level among males and affects older individuals who were born before major interventions related to curbing the spread of the disease were implemented. The findings also show that some children of HIV-positive mothers do not have birth certificates. This issue presents barriers related to public school enrollment and access to public funds. Finally, in the same way that we have observed some positive results from previously implemented policies, there is hope that with effective policy interventions, barriers that inhibit HIV-positive children and youth’s education can be eradicated.
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