The Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Ghana: A Lost Opportunity?

The recent national discourse on comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in Ghana schools has stirred emotions. The debate has been vigorous and healthy. It signifies that our democracy is becoming consolidated into maturity.

Given the importance of sexuality education to children, we wished the President had directed the Ministries of Education and Health to address the concerns expressed by stakeholders and collaboratively refashion the program for implementation. The reworked program should have broader stakeholder consultation, adequate and age-appropriate resources, qualified trained sex education teachers, an effective public education campaign and scalable implementation guideline.

Ideally, children will get all the information they need at home, from their parents, grandmothers and other elders. In certain communities, sexuality education is encapsulated in traditional rites of passage such as “bragro’ with the Akan, “dipo” with the Krobo, to name a few. These cultural and related practices introduce young people into adulthood. It is true in every sense that parents are best teachers but classroom education could come in handy for students. School should hold holistic, well planned and developed counseling programs. Nothing about comprehensive sex education prevents parents from teaching their kids their standards for moral behavior.

If anything, having them learn the facts at school frees parents to focus on explaining their own personal religious beliefs and behavioral expectations. Formal sexuality education can improve the health and well-being of adolescents and young adults. A comprehensive sexuality program provides medically accurate information, recognizes the diversity of values and beliefs represented in the community, and complements and augments the sexuality education children receive from their families, religious and community groups, and health care professionals.

Creating access to medically accurate comprehensive sexuality education by using an evidence-based curriculum and reducing sociodemographic disparities in its receipt remain a primary goal for improving the well-being of teenagers and young adults. Ideally, this education happens conjointly in the home and in the school.

The CSE has seen its share of demonstrations across the globe

Sexuality education should be taught through the three learning domains: cognitive (information), affective (feelings, values, and attitudes), and behavioral (communication, decision-making, and other skills). It should cover healthy sexual development, gender identity, interpersonal relationships, affection, sexual development, intimacy, and body image for all adolescents, including adolescents with disabilities, chronic health conditions, and other special needs. The various dimensions of health sexuality comprise the anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry of the sexual response system; identity, orientation, roles, and personality; and thoughts, feelings, and relationships.

The political hypocrisy about sexuality education in Ghana should stop. It’s reported that sexuality education has been part of the curriculum at least since 2012 when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) received funding from development agencies in the United Kingdom to incorporate sexuality education in Ghana. However, the NDC has become the leading critic of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) on the CSE. It is also reported that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) also received funding from Sweden for sexuality education in our schools.

We at Amandla do not advocate for blind adoption of foreign-developed programs for local implementation. Ordinarily, we would encourage our leaders to be wary of foreign aid to Africa and Ghana given that certain foreign aid has inimical objectives. However, given the importance of sexuality education, the current CSE developed by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Culture Organization (UNESCO) should serve as a framework to developing a refashioned sexuality education that has broad public support.

Lessons should be drawn from the successful implementation of policies under the erstwhile Acheampong Regime’s implementation of popular program such as “Ghana Moves Right” in 1974 and the implementation of initiatives such as “Operation Feed Yourself” initiatives. Few people will quibble that the implementation of these initiatives was very successful due to broad public consultation and education on the airwaves, TV, drills in schools, etc. We hope that implementation of sexuality education would include such similar strategies.

We think the opportunity is not totally lost, and that the government would re-fashion the CSE and try to implement it again. We also encourage Ghanaians to not relent but continue to engage in the political process for policies that affect them.

Posted by on Oct 17 2019. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Comments for “The Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Ghana: A Lost Opportunity?”

  1. Rev. Dr. Eleanor Moody-Shepherd

    Our children need comprehensive education around sex and morality! The age of technology has replaced much of family influence. In addition to the teen pregnancy, migration patterns that have changed family structures!

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