Sex education: the bigger picture....
I sincerely hope that you are not getting bored with my articles on sex education. The fact of the matter is I am constantly confronted with this issue be it from watching the TV, radio talks or the newspapers I read. To a large extent that is why I decided to dedicate the next 4 years of my life studying, reading, and learning about this phenomenon.
I am often disappointed at how some people perceive the problem of teenage pregnancies. Some people suggest that we stop giving teenage mothers grants because that will lead them to have more babies. Oh, if only it was that simple! Research has constantly indicated that although child grants may influence the decision to have a child by some teenagers, it is however, not the main culprit. Some people suggest that the moral fibre of our country has disintegrated so much that young people are engaged in harmful behaviours and do not seem to care about the consequences. Let’s pose for a minute and meditate on this assertion. The fact is that teenagers do not give birth to themselves, nor do they live by themselves (or at least they should not have to). There are people who give birth to these children; they are teachers who teach them for a good 12 years, they live in communities etc...My point is that we cannot blame one element e.g. grants, unruly behaviour, modernisation (I can go on and on). The problem is more complex than that.
What am I trying to say! We need to understand adolescent sexuality (yes, there is such a thing). From the moment we are born we are sexual beings. The prominence of this aspect of our lives grows with maturity. Please do not confuse “sexual activity” and being a sexual being. I have come to learn and acknowledge the complexity of adolescent sexuality. The changing nature of society makes it even more difficult and somewhat complex to deal with adolescent sexuality. We no longer live in isolation with norms created by out great, great, great grandfathers but rather that the norm and rules are constantly changing.
It is through understanding adolescent sexuality and the current society that we live in that will enable us to create and develop better ways of dealing with issues such as teenage pregnancies. The fact of the matter is that teenagers are engaging in sexual activity. That my dear parent is REALITY! But what we can do to make sure that teenagers are aware of their sexuality and at the same time take responsibility for it.
A good sex education that not only focuses on condom use, contraceptives, abstinence and the biology of reproduction, I rather advocate for a sex education programme that is integrated into the curricula of our educational system ( and not only as a by the way programme) that is designed and development using the understanding of adolescent sexuality. Sexual rights as entrenched in the Human rights declaration, human rights and importantly RESPONSIBILITY towards these rights must be on the forefront of a comprehensive sex education. This is not to say that condom use, contraceptives, abstinence and the biology of reproduction should not be included, but that they be included and taught from the framework as stated above.
I am aware the role that teachers play in conveying the message of sexuality. I am aware of the challenges that ill equipped teacher (resources, attitudes etc...) that exist in our society. I am particularly aware of how negative attitudes from teachers regarding sex education can have on their constituency. I will discuss this further in a future article.....
The point of all this rambling is to sensitise you in not giving narrow minded (I mean no disrespect) opinions when it comes to complex issues....take a
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