Educor, the national education group, is to open 53 learning centres around South Africa all year around for its more than 230 000 students, 1 000 staff and members of the public to come in and get Aids tests.
Educor Executive Chairman Sithembiso Nzimande announced the move when he and other executives stepped up for public HIV tests in support of the reinvigorated national programme to tackle the spread of the virus.
Nzimande said Educor planned to set up a testing facility at each of the group’s premises in time for the start of the 2010 academic year.
"It's critical that testing be made a sustainable and permanent feature of our lives. There should just be no excuse for not knowing your status. Widespread availability of testing facilities will help make it clear, especially to younger people, that they can establish their status at any time," said Nzimande.
Educor’s brands include Damelin, Intec College, Lyceum College, CitiVarsity, ICESA Education Services and Millenia Graduate School of Business. The group’s more than 230 000 registered students comprise people studying both full-time and part-time.
"It is imperative for us as business leaders and educators to provide significant and tangible support for government’s testing programme by helping to ensure that people have access to as broad a range of testing facilities as possible," says Nzimande.
"Knowing your status is a relatively simple yet incredibly important step in dealing with HIV. Our student body falls very much within the key target groups of government’s campaign and we will be actively promoting participation within our organisation."
Nzimande says leaders in all sectors and civil society will set a powerful example by openly getting themselves tested. "Even now there is still a degree of reluctance to get tested for a variety of reasons. Setting a positive example is a key aspect of leadership and we hope others will do likewise."
Testing facilities will be available at branded points of contact and learning operated by Educor’s brands.
(Press release, Magna Carta Public Relations, November 2009)