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Sex education should be incorporated in the syllabus

By Ooro George | January 5th 2016

It's very unfortunate that sex education is not included in the school curriculum.

A school should play the crucial role of providing teenagers with the knowledge and skills needed to protect their sexual health.

The Bill of Rights in the Constitution upholds freedom to receive ideas and information without interference and it is therefore important for young people to be informed and sensitised on the importance of self-worth.

They should have access to medically accurate and unbiased sexual health information. Our youth should be empowered, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender in order to make the healthiest decisions possible.

Just like Jerry Brown, the governor of California USA, President Uhuru Kenyatta should also sign the Sex Education Bill that is currently in the Senate, should it proceed to 'presidential assent', which I am optimistic it will.

Young people should be taught everything from abstinence to emergency contraception, and a whole lot in between, in primary and secondary schools.

The bill, which was authored by California Assemblywoman, Shirley Weber requires teachers to not only offer education but also teach a comprehensive curriculum that includes abstinence, a range of contraceptive methods, issues related to sexuality and gender identity as well as an objective discussion of all legally available pregnancy outcomes, including, but not limited to, parenting, adopter and abortion.

The measure further obligates the curriculum to affirmatively recognise that people have different sexual orientations and, when discussing or providing examples of relationships and couples, shall be inclusive of same-sex relationships.

Of late, there has been an increase in unwanted pregnancies, miscarriages, abortions and spread of STIs among our youth. This statistical evidence proves how unaware the junior citizens are in terms of risking their lives. The Government should therefore formulate precautionary measures, which are urgently needed to curb this pandemic before it gets worse.

The recent establishment of talent academies, an initiative that seeks to engage and challenge the adolescents and youth through an innovative approach that taps into their talent to a greater degree and boosts their opportunities and self-confidence for better livelihoods is good but not enough.

There is need to equip teachers, through specialised training, to teach the youth about their sexuality.

I have listened to different views from some parents and other education stakeholders questioning and opposing the proposed Sex Education Bill and have been shocked by the level of ignorance exemplified by the same people I expected to overwhelmingly applaud and support the bill. I stand to be corrected.

But I thought sex education is not about teaching young people the latest porn styles or introducing them to blue movies, but rather providing knowledge of contraceptives and difference between various contraception methods, such as morning pills, contraception, condoms and last but not least, abortion. Also, sex education will expose the teenagers to their body images, sexual expression, intimacy, gender identity, family responsibility and marriage.

If pupils and students can be taught sex education as a subject from a tender age, they will acquire crucial life skills. Sex education should be incorporated in a carefully knitted school syllabus and made examinable.

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