On sexuality education in schools
I read an article in the newspaper by a women’s right activist justifying comprehensive sex education being taught in schools and the defense of sexual rights for school children. I am afraid this stand might promote immorality among school children. I will like to share a personal experience. About seven years ago, I had written an article in the newspapers on the dangers of promoting sexual promiscuity under the guise of sexuality education. I had recounted a story of a neighbour of mine in a government secondary school in Lagos (JSS 1 to be precise,) who came home from school one day and said innocently that two white men had come to her school to distribute male and female condoms and actually taught them how to use them in order to prevent pregnancy or HIV. Of course, her parents went the very next day to raise hell in the school. And I had wondered why it was so important for little children who could barely lace their shoes to be taught how to put on the condoms at such a tender age.
It goes contrary to our moral traditions and culture as a country. We should not be copying the wrong lifestyles of the Western world. In the West, morals have lost their places. As a result, children are being lured into sexual promiscuity early in life. In fact, morality has been so corrupted that children are being lured into procuring abortions without the knowledge of their parents. Is this what the women’s right activists in Nigeria want us to replicate all in the name of sexual rights? I am afraid that Nigerian radical feminists campaigning for Nigerian teenagers to be allowed to exercise their sexual rights under the Comprehensive Sex Education curriculum have long past their menopause and most likely do not have teenage children in school. This is because no good mother or father would want to introduce his or her child to sexual promiscuity. When ex-President of the United States Barrack Obama legalized lesbianism and homosexuality in the United States, he was asked this question by a journalist: If Malia your daughter comes home with a girl for a husband what would you do? Without any hesitation, Obama answered: No Way, not my Malia. When I was growing up, my mother used to call me and my sisters to explain to us that we shouldn’t be like the palm wine that needed to be tested before being bought and that the bus stop of being morally loose was to get pregnant and drop out of school. So, why would a good father or mother encourage her teenage child to indulge in safe-sex (and most probably come out damaged and battered) when the child is still so immature and unready for the emotional stress, which accompanies an active indulgence in casual sex?
It is sad that rather than promote abstinence for unmarried teens, some activists are going about telling children to use condoms and have safe-sex. They forget that unlike animals human beings are not governed by instincts. It is the primary responsibility of parents to teach their children sex education, not school teachers who more often than not lure the school pupils into sexual promiscuity without realising it, all in the name of sexuality education. Teachers should strengthen the moral values handed down by parents, not destroy them. It is quite disconcerting to think that teachers are made to teach children a comprehensive sex education in very unrefined ways. As a teacher in a mixed school, I once confronted the biology teacher in my school once when I saw him going to the classroom to teach the students with male and female condoms and most probably how to put them on and use them. He said they were his teaching aids. I was stunned. This is really very deplorable and sad. I then told my colleague that he did not have to teach the kids such gross details about sex. In response, he said casually that the students knew everything already about sex and even knew much more than the teachers and that there was no point hiding anything from them.
This is a defeatist option. We cannot act on a false generalisation that all children are sexually exposed, and hence must be indulging in sex. This is not true. Many children are properly brought up by good parents. Therefore we cannot make a blanket statement that all children are already corrupt. I think parents should protest the imposition of a comprehensive sexuality education on them and their children. When I was in school we were lucky to have enjoyed Shakespearean books and other very educative literature books packed with good moral undertone. But the books you find in schools these days are polluted with stories of romance and love making with no moral lessons to be learnt. Recently we have noticed that the academic performance in schools is dropping rapidly.
Meanwhile, many poor teachers are being blamed for not teaching well enough. I strongly think and believe that this poor performance can be attributed to the teaching of a sexuality education in schools. And these distractions, tend to shorten the attention and interest of students in studying.
There is no doubt that moral decadence is on the increase in our primary and secondary schools. Children are now more interested in putting into practice the theory of sexuality education taught in class. I will like to use this medium to appeal to the Minister of Education and the Education Board to please take a look at the primary and secondary school curricula once more and make the necessary changes therein. Let us bring back moral instruction into the school curricula. Instead of fueling promiscuity under the guise of sex education let us emphasize the teaching of moral values and abstinence from sexuality to children before marriage.
Let’s build a better Nigeria.
Omosefe, is a teacher living in Benin City