Curriculum Developed to Combat HIV
A strong curriculum on Sexuality Education in schools has been acknowledged as the panacea to combat the spread of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) including Human Immuno Deficiency Virus (HIV), teenage pregnancies and drug abuse among young people in schools.
This was said on 28 October 2009 by some teachers in Bulawayo during a one-day training workshop organised by the Sexual Rights Centre, a local non-governmental organisation working on sexual rights including sexual health, gender relationships, HIV/AIDS, sexual violence and sexuality.
Mrs Sian Maseko, the Director of the Sexual Rights Centre said that the workshop was aimed at introducing a sexuality education curriculum that will be piloted in four schools namely Foundation College, Specis College, St. Gabriel Education Centre and Mzilikazi High School.
“The curriculum is a new initiative that compliments the work in schools on HIV/AIDS. The purpose of this module is to provide information and help young people to develop attitudes, values and skills so they can make appropriate choices about their sexual behaviour,” said Mrs Maseko.
Sexuality education is a broad term used to describe education about human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual intercourse, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, HIV/AIDS, contraceptives, and other aspects of human sexual behaviour.
“Sexuality education is a lifelong process of acquiring information and forming attitudes, beliefs, and values. It encompasses sexual development, reproductive health, interpersonal relationships, affection, intimacy, body image, and gender. It addresses the biological, socio-cultural, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of sexuality from the cognitive domain (information); the affective domain (feelings, values, and attitudes); and the behavioural domain (communication and decision),” Mrs Maseko explained.
Foundation College teacher, Mrs. Khetiwe Ncube said that young people in schools were at high risk of contracting STI including HIV because they are still adventurous on sexual issues.
“Most of our students are already sexually active and are at risk because they experiment on things they see on television and the internet. Some films leave nothing for imagination. Parents have a hard time controlling what their children see, particularly late night shows,” said Mrs. Ncube.
Another teacher, Mrs Headwick Gomba from Mzilikazi High school said that schools were not providing adequate sexuality education to students.
“Sexuality education is not taken seriously. We offer Guidance and Counselling but this is only done a few minutes per week. There is a lack of seriousness on addressing sexuality issues affecting students but the consequences of such neglect are there for everyone to see,” noted Mrs. Gomba.
Mrs Maseko said that the curriculum is a response to a serious gap in the personal and social education of young people in schools.
“Our sexuality education curriculum increases young people’s access to information on sexual and reproductive health. The curriculum is guided by the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Children’s Rights Convention) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and people’s rights on the rights of women in Africa. It also adheres to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights,” said Mrs Maseko.