Emphasize Delivery of Sexuality Education Too

The ministry of education on 9th June 2021 launched the new physical education (PE) and sports policy that seeks to make the education compulsory, by requiring teachers to be trained and regularly retrained on PE delivery. This is a great move towards strengthening quality education, challenging stigma and overcoming stereotypes.

Physical, sexuality, and life skills lessons have been facing similar challenges for decades in our 8-4-4 education system. Despite the subjects being timetabled, they’re often taken up by teacher’s eager to cover up or complete their syllabus of the examinable subjects.

The need to take a similar move in pushing for proper delivery of sexuality/ life skills education as required by the School Health Policy is evident. Data from the health ministry around Pregnancy between teenagers and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), emphasizes adolescents and young people require much more than HIV/AIDS education and focus on abstinence, resulting in a limited scope of sexuality topics offered in school. A study conducted by Guttmacher Institute found the main barriers to teaching sexuality education reported by teachers were lack of teaching materials, time or training, and embarrassment about certain topics.

Time to formalize sexuality education, which also involves relationships and personal feelings, individual and societal values is now. Inclusion of all sexuality topics in life skills education has become even more important because of the rapid spread of social media, the Internet, mobile phone technology which brings enormous positive and educational potential, but it is of concern given the risks of access to online pornography that has come with it.

 All these developments have triggered the need for good quality sexuality education which will enable young people to deal with their sexuality in a safe and satisfactory manner. With the proper training, quality monitoring, and staffing in schools, these can be very safe spaces and learning environments for discussions on sexuality. Training and re-training g for updating skills and techniques should also be a priority, to ensure that teachers have the information, support, and resources necessary to confidently and effectively teach sensitive topics including pregnancy prevention.

Dollarman Fatinato

Project assistant at Centre for the Study of Adolescence 

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