The role of school connectedness in the relationship between pro-social behaviour and classroom peer relations in Sesotho speaking HIV/AIDS orphans
De Gouveia, Amanda
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Article 1: It is estimated that at present there are 4.253 million orphans in South Africa, comprising 23% of children in this country. In the Free State, 27% of the province’s children are orphaned. At the commencement of this study it was estimated that there were 3.95 million orphans in South Africa, comprising 21% of children in this country, while 26% of children in the Free State children were orphaned. From these statistics it is apparent that South Africa is still experiencing an ever increasing magnitude of orphans, all of whom must be absorbed within the school system. Despite many developmental risk factors associated with orphan-hood in South Africa, a study among primary school HIV/AIDS orphans in Mangaung in the Free State, found high scores of positive development and normal childhood functioning, namely pro-social behaviour and good classroom peer relations. Data analysis of the raw scores, by means of the Pearson product moment correlation, established a coefficient of 0.291 on the 1% level of significance between pro-social behaviour and classroom peer relations in a sample of 234 Sesotho speaking HIV/AIDS orphans. This outcome is in line with international studies, but is noteworthy within the South African childhood context of HIV/AIDS and poverty, where the risk factors that potentially compromise developmental outcomes for HIV/AIDS orphans are rampant and robust. Article 2: Among the many risk factors to be navigated by HIV/AIDS orphans in South Africa, is the risk regarding attainment of educational outcomes. In the South African context, orphans are the demographic group most likely not to complete their education. Yet, there are protective factors that can help orphans to manage some of the risk factors that they face daily. One such a protective factor is school connectedness. A study among a sample of 234 primary school HIV/AIDS orphans, aged 7-11 years, in Mangaung in the Free State, found high scores of school connectedness among the selected sample of learners. Product term regression analysis of the data shows that school connectedness plays a moderator role in a previously established relationship between pro-social behaviour and classroom peer relations among the same sample of orphaned learners. This study concludes that there is indeed a need to foster and research school connectedness among orphans and other vulnerable children in South African schools, as the protective qualities of this construct could counteract some of the risk factors regarding educational outcomes, not only for HIV/AIDS orphans, but for all children growing up in the context of adversity.