An investigation on bereavement intervention strategies and inclusion of death education in the curriculum for the learners in the South East Region Schools of Botswana
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In this investigation senior secondary students (N=3 IO); class teachers (N= I I); Guidance teachers (N=5); teachers who are Heads of Departments (N= 1 O); principals (n=5 and parents who are members of Parents Teachers' Association (PT A) (N=20) each responded to the participation of students in the death event of a family member or a close relative and testified to their process of mourning. These respondents gave testimony on how the schools in the south - east region of Botswana give support to each learner who has lost a loved one is it a parent, a sibling or relative. However, this support is reported as being insufficient and inappropriate to the extent of it being insignificant in rendering such bereaved learners to reconnecting with their schooling life and their school work. This short coming is accounted for by lack of or very little of material and engaging with death education. In establishing the extent and depth of the section of the curriculum that deals with death education in the schools of targeted area in this study, data triangulation was used - students gave their version of bereavement section in the curriculum; class-teachers and guidance teachers gave their versions and so did the parents who are members of the Parents Teachers Association. These three groups (students, teachers and parents) have confirmed that the school curriculum does not have sufficient material on death/bereavement education. This investigation has also looked at the post-funeral care for these young students at school. The a priori theory for this care is articulated by Mallon (1998) when he maintains that we should accept that the emotional healing that the mourning process involves is crucial to the child's well-being as it is to adults. The grieving is much better carried out immediately after the event rather than being postponed. In reconnecting with the academic work that has been going on during the bereaved students absence (while participating in pre-funeral arrangements and the funeral itself) sufficient time needs to be allocated for this "lost time" in an appropriate manner. This study has also established that this is not being attended to sufficiently and appropriately hence the absence of a coherent bereavement policy. The recommendations of this study therefore are an inclusion of bereavement and death education in the curriculum of the Senior Secondary Schools in Botswana, counseling and extra lessons for bereaved learners and a detailed bereavement policy to be considered by the Botswana Ministry of Education.
- Education