Many parents and teachers are in support of the implementation of Reproductive Health Education (RHE) in basic schools to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights of children in Ghana, a research report has shown.
The research conducted by the Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana (YHFG), a Non-Governmental Organisation, in two districts each in the Greater Accra, Ashanti and Upper East Region was part of a five-year RHE project dubbed, “Evidence to Action: Sexual Health Education Advocacy Project” being sponsored by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU).
The research sought to find out whether parents and teachers supported the implementation of RHE in basic schools or not and at which levels and what personal and environmental factors could influence their choice.
At a dissemination workshop to make the findings known to stakeholders held at Bolgatanga, the findings showed that 60 per cent of teachers and 90 per cent of parents supported the implementation of the RHE in basic schools.
However, Mr. Dominic Anarigide, the Project Officer, YHFG, who presented the findings, said the research further noted that the implementation of the RHE should begin at the Upper Primary level.
Ms. Augustina Dechegme Achigibah, the Programme manager of YHFG, noted that although the findings could not be generalised to the larger population, its implementation should be in conformity with the sociocultural beliefs of society.
Ms. Priscilla Nyaaba, the Executive Director of YHFG, called on various stakeholders, especially the Ghana Education Service (GES) and religious bodies, among others, to collaborate and intensify conversation for RHE in basic schools.
This, Ms. Nyaaba noted, would help reduce teenage pregnancies, minimise child marriage, limit transmission of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and enable adolescents to make informed decisions to help their career and personal development.
According to Ms Nyaaba the Ministry of Education and its partners developed a national guideline for the teaching of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in schools in 2019, but the initiative was met with great opposition from various stakeholders due to its content, leading to a halt in its implementation.
She said while it was important to acknowledge that some elements in the document did not meet the acceptable societal norms in the Ghanaian community, it was crucial that stakeholders were engaged on the way forward as RHE was important for the growth and development of young people, especially adolescents.
Ms. Priscilla Lisa Tanbesagr, the Bolgatanga Municipal Girl Child Officer of the Ghana Education Service (GES), said the implementation of RHE in basic schools was fundamental to safeguarding the future of the younger generation, adding that it was only when they were educated that they could make appropriate decisions regarding their sexual life.
Sheikh Abu-Baka Sadiq Abdul-Rahaman, a participant, noted that it was important religious bodies and other stakeholders were engaged to examine the content of any policy document in relation to sex education before its introduction into schools.
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