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Students, teachers want sexual reproductive health to be taught in schools – Norsaac’s study

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A study has revealed that some students at basic schools in the northern part of the country prefer to be taught Sexual Reproductive Health Education (SRHE) because their parents are not able to discuss such issues with them.

The study has also revealed that some teachers in the northern part of the country agreed that SRHE should be taught at basic schools because some parents were not able to discuss the topic with their children at home.

According to the study, the teachers and students believed that teaching SRHE at basic schools would amongst others help students to develop positive attitudes towards issues of sexual and reproductive health to lead responsible lifestyles while helping to stem teenage pregnancies.

The study, commissioned by Norsaac, a Civil Society Organization (CSO), was conducted in August, this year, by a team of public health professionals from the School of Public Health, University for Development Studies, and released during the 2nd National Reproductive Health Education (RHE) forum in Tamale.

The forum was organised by Norsaac in collaboration with AXIS and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and attended by representatives from the Ghana Education Service, Ghana Health Service, some Colleges of Education, CSOs amongst others.

It was on the theme: ”Bring back reproductive health education discourse: The twists, the facts, and the reality”.

A total of 441 students comprising 202 males and 239 females, and 416 teachers drawn from various schools in the Northern, Savannah, North East, Upper East, and Upper West Regions were interviewed as part of the study.

The study sought to explore the perspectives of stakeholders on whether they would want school children to be taught sexuality education in basic schools.

It also sought to determine the viewpoint of stakeholders on Reproductive Health Education (RHE) and how content and context-relevant RHE was to basic school students.

It recommended that the Ministry of Education, Ghana Health Service and non-governmental organisations should support teachers to implement SRHE by incorporating it into the school curriculum as a stand-alone subject.

It also recommended that a curriculum on SRHE should be developed for all basic schools in the country.

SRHE provides students with the knowledge and skills to help them to be healthy and avoid HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and unintended pregnancies.

Mr Alhassan Mohammed Awal, Executive Director of Norsaac, who spoke during the release of the study at the Second National Reproductive Health Education forum in Tamale, said Norsaac would engage more stakeholders on the findings of the study to enable them to appreciate the issues for necessary actions to be taken.

Mr Awal was hopeful that teaching of SRHE in basic schools would help amongst others to reduce the high cases of teenage pregnancies in the country.

Madam Linda Amoah, Northern Regional Girl-Child Education Officer lauded the study for the issues it uncovered and said there was no doubt that children at basic schools were engaging in sexual intercourse, and, therefore, needed to be taught what it involved before they got into it.

Mr Abdourahamane Diallo, Head of Office and Representative of UNESCO in Ghana, who joined the forum via a virtual platform, gave assurance of UNESCO’s continued partnership with stakeholders on the issues of RHE to ensure that all children would remain in school.

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