BY COMR. EGBAGBARA OMARAYERUE BLESSING (JP)
I thank members of the Elite Club of Nigeria, Ughelli for searching me out to be a guest speaker at their Annual event. I also thank them for giving me the opportunity to speak on a topic, I chose on my own. Though this placed a greater responsibilities on me. I take responsibilities for all the materials contained in this lecture and if anyone feel offended, the members of the elite club who invited me should take responsibilities of my staying in this hall.
Hence, I am talking of shared responsibilities. But having invited me, you should be able to have the discipline to listen.
Sex education and family life education as an aspect of factual information to assist parents and teachers help children and adolescents avoid unwanted pregnancy. It also includes ways of helping children and adolescents avoid unwanted pregnancy. They also include ways of helping children develop self-esteem, understand sexuality, define the values of interpersonal relationship and strengthened communications skills in sex and family life education. In order to promote wholesome and stable family life, among family unit, it is necessary for parents and teachers to acquire the necessary scientific social and psychological understanding of sex and family life education.
Sex education, sometimes refers to as parenthood education, population educations, continues to convey different meanings among family members and communities. You will agree that sex education among some communities are erroneously or wrongly regarded as activities directed towards enabling people to acquire the necessary skills in sexual act. In short, such people see it as education for sex act. Sex education is sometimes also perceived as the provision of sex knowledge or information.
However, a proper understanding of the concept of sex education will show that sex education goes beyond these ideas. Parenthood education appears to concentrate on specific roles played by parents during child rearing while population education focuses on the idea of controlling the number of people and methods of limiting populations size. Human sexuality is the characteristics of humans. It encompasses both the biological psychological, socio cultural and ethical aspects of human sexuality.
Following from the above views, sex education is a comprehensive and systematic development program extending from “infancy to maturation. It is planned and directed to produce socially and morally desirable sex attitudes, practices and personal behavior. Family life education concerns all educational processes that are planned and directed to help fathers, mothers, boys and girls to solve the problems of life, that centered in the human sex instinct and inter-personal social relationships.
Oruma (1983) said that every child is a sexual being from birth and the denial suppression or rejection of sexuality on the part of his parents, guidance and teachers cannot, but affect the child sexuality development; sometimes leading to fear, intolerance, injustices, misery or even death.
These circumstances demand a proper sex education program which will greatly reduce, if not annihilate the incidence of unwanted pregnancy, especially among secondary school boys and girls. The danger poised, venereal diseases, careless loss of lives through improper abortions and series of problems associated with birth control.
Therefore, the value of an early and natural sex education will have on the youth’s life motivated a burning enthusiasm to take an indept and critical look at the need for the inclusion of sex education in the curriculum of the Delta State Basic and Secondary Education Program. For this reason, an acceptable sex education program inc-opted in the curriculum of the Basic and Secondary Education Program, will not only save every access to all sexual life, but can also serve to bring rich, happier, sexual relationships and more meaningful lives.
There is therefore, the need in this jet-age of ex-revolution, whose sex has lost its dignity and respect for imperatively introduce sex education in the curriculum of secondary education in Delta State. Again, it is a very well-established facts that sex education has recently been receiving very serious and considerable attention in Nigeria, although the increased interest has been matched by an increase in available services to countries like that of Great Britain and U.S.A. Its incorporation into the program of our institution of learning is being undertaken rather very slowly. It is obvious that attempts to introduce each program into the curriculum have met with some bricks especially from the churches.
Also, political, economic, parental and cultural conditions prohibit widespread program, while lack of educators who can effectively integrate the program cannot be over emphasized. But where sex education exists at all there are weakness attached to them. For instance, sex education is often directed only at preventing problems such as unwanted pregnancies as well as venereal diseases. Sex education as a means of personal enjoyment for the future life is ignored. The uncontrolled sexual passion of our students has led to an enormous development of organized prostitution.
It is therefore necessary to reduce and help eliminate these conditions which results in temptation and opportunity, especially before our young students and some adults have acquired the necessary maturity and understanding and this can only be achieved through a well-planned sex education program incorporated into the curriculum of the Basic and Secondary Education System in Delta State.
In course of presentation of this paper I deem it fit and imperative to go indept critically with a view of pin pointing out some of the major significance of the incorporation of sex education into the curriculum of the Basic and Secondary Education in Delta State. This paper intends to inculcate positive change or ideas in the planner of the curriculum, Basic and Secondary Students in Delta State. It will also enable the students get the needed information about human reproduction and reproductive system. The students need to know that human life begins when fertilization has taken place, that the sex of the body is determined by the father. Special talents capacity for intellectual development, skin pigmentation, body build, blood type are all inheritable characters, such information as to how some others gives birth to twins, identical and fraternal, triplets, quadruplets etc, their causes, their growth in the mother’s womb.
The above are copious information that the student needs to acquires from sex education. The sex drive in our students these days, is very powerful and this behavior normally lead to prostitution, rapes, abortion, illegitimate child and sex pervasion such as lesbianism, homosexuality. Through sex education, the consequence of the aforementioned problems is made known to the students. Sex education therefore provide youth with enough information that will enable them balance moral decisions about their own behaviors.
This paper intends to also explain and check the spread of venereal diseases. Therefore, there is need for the introduction of sex education in our basic and secondary school curriculum, so as to give the students the opportunity to know the possible dangers to themselves and the society as a whole. The danger of adolescence pregnancy should not be over-emphasized. The knowledge of sex education will prevent the problem; as well as prepare the students to develop a good natural relationship with both members of one’s sex and those of the opposite sex. Before going indept into what sex education is, I want to appreciate Chief (Amb.) David Ohwoekevwo (JP) whom I serve two tenures under as Branch Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Teacher (NUT) Ughelli North Branch and for his interest in my write-up, Prof. Lucky Eboh of Delsu Abraka, Prof. Patrick Muoboghare, Hon. Commissioner for Higher Education Delta State, Comr. Bridget Obominuru, Pastor Mrs. Mercy Otuokena, Pastor Mrs. Ufuoma Odemejovwor, Shaka Rosemary, Abafe Christabel, Ruth Iduruku for their encouragement to write and proof reading. To my wife Mrs. Julie Egbagbara and Kobiruo my Daughter for always staying and burning the mid night candle with me whenever I have a paper of this nature to present.
WHAT IS SEX EDUCATION
The world book of encyclopedia (1980) gave the meaning of sex education as instruction about sex and human sexuality. The book contends that sex has important effects on the lives of human beings. A complete programme of sex education which starts in the kindergarten should continue through the high school.
Accordingly, to Walker (1954), is of the view that it is in childhood that the foundations of our characters are being laid down. The psychologist has proved to us, how lasting are the effects of inexpert handling in the earlier years of our lives. A faulty upbringing may be responsible for the development of various forms of deviations in the later years, parents, nurses and school teachers who are mala-djusted themselves are a fruitful cause of troubles, which many take years of patients work on the part of psychologist to eradicate. It is clear that our basic and secondary school students in Delta State are still brought in ignorance of facts that are of vital concern to them or worse still adopt through imitating the faculty attitudes of adults who surrounded them in spites of the improvements that have undoubtedly been made in the sex education of students, much still remains to be done. It is only when a healthy and natural upbringing becomes the rule rather than the exception will be the number of sexual neurotics fall and men and women who have come to terms with their sexuality will become aware of the value.
ATTITUDES OF BASIC AND SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS TOWARDS SEX
Egbuna (1982) as ailed by Omoru (2003) points out that majority of our parents believed that sex education of their children should be their responsibilities. He continued that personal negligence or inadequacy in providing supportive sexual information for their children is a major contribution to the ever escalating sexual
incidents among young students. Service and management (1981) as cited by Egbagbara (2006) contends that certain social, great and sudden changes as a result of the mystery surrounding sex. This study although small is timely, as one tends to forget obvious facts that in sex, as in other life issues, accidents are often as a result of ignorance as much as carelessness.
Oruma (1983) emphasized that sincere children and adolescence don’t know fully the stress of their ages and how to them, some will engage in activities freely. As a young girl, at school become pregnant they can’t terminate such pregnancies without the danger to their health; Hence they end their education unceremoniously and abruptly. This can have far reaching implications, that would result in the girl being married at a very tender and early age, a love based on fear and for sex fades very fast after some years of stay together by the two couples, because the urge may wither with time. On the other hand, the young girls may not find a husband. It could be the one that cannot care financially or morality.
The paper notes that another point that comes to mind is the incident of sexually transmitted diseases. Since it is not the practice of the parents to hide the disease, which will ruin his or her life. There is a lot of stress with regards to sex that features prominently in the adolescent. The young boy develops hair in the private parts, his voice become deeper, his muscles develops and his chest expands. He begins to be stimulated by certain appearance in the opposite sex, the girl on the other hand at the starting of the adolescent stage develops hair in the private part too and her breast enlarges. She puts on cosmetics, perfumes, clothes to attract males. At this stage the adolescent organizes parties and long for sex and have great tendencies for sexual coition. David (1975) in his own view states that while parents argue whether or not children truly have a sex life and really need sex education, children go on with or without their help. Sex has become much more a part of public life.
Since communication has increased so greatly and they often learn incorrectly from peers, associates, magazines and books etc. This implies that students often see heterosexual connotations, while other shows are frank discussion of sex. Sexual stimulation bounds and much of this is the thirst for sexual knowledge among students. Our students therefore fail to change their basically embarrassed attitudes towards sexual intercourse.
THE NEED FOR BOYS AND GIRLS TO HAVE SELF CONTROL IN MATTERS RELATING TO SEX
Darden (1983) emphasized that sex education is to be distinguished from sex information. It consists of instructions to develop understanding of the physical, emotional, social economic and psychological phase of human relationship. It includes more than anatomic and reproductive information and emphasizes attitudes development and guidance related to association between the sex. It implies that man’s sexuality is integrated into his total life development as a healthy entity and a source of creative energy.
The above description succinctly outlines the scope of sex education. Sex education therefore becomes an indispensable intervention tool in combating promiscuity, illegitimacy, venereal disease and pre-natal mortality. It should be noted that sex education programs should not be ones of prevention but rather ones to give our students factual information and provide them with the basis of understanding. Both of which will help them to become mature and responsible person, to make rational decisions to live comfortably life with their own sexuality and to integrate sex into their live creativity and constructively (National Education Association of America (1967).
Donald (1971) states that one very crucial area affecting the popularity and the success of sex education program today, is the attitude of parents towards sex in their own families. On the final analysis, this writer is of the view that as an educator, we should adopt some educational approaches to sex education in public primary and secondary schools in Delta States. A program, which starts from the Basic School and continues through the secondary and high schools with various departments. The effects of the home and the school in this regard should not be supplementary rather, it should be complementing
COMMUNITY AGENCIES FOR SEX EDUCATION:
Before looking into the place for sex education in our basic and secondary schools’ system in Delta State, it is necessary to discuss here what our community agencies ought to do, so as to help our youth in this area.
Abiodun (1981) emphasized that the health of the child is the primary responsibility of the home, because it is the home that first cater for the basic needs of the child. Attitudes, habits and conducts are developed in the home. It is the home that should give the basic ingredients for empathy, love and desirable health behavior to the child through examples and precepts. At the home, parents have a close and continuous relationship with the child, that no other individual has. It is from the parents, that he should receive his earliest attitudes towards sex, so parents have the responsibilities of;
(i) Letting the children know that they are loved, wanted and accepted for themselves.
(ii) Understanding the growth and development change in children.
(iii) Helping children become independent and responsible persons.
(iv) Building sound attitudes towards sex and high standards of conduct.
(v) Acquiring scientific information and a vocabulary with which they express themselves with easy in talking about sex.
Religious establishment such as the churches and mosques, in all its ramifications afford an unusually fine opportunity for sex education. The most important contributions they can make in this field lies in the development of acceptable attitudes about sex, moral, marriages and related topics through preaching. Ehinmovo (1981) noted that “the importance of adherence to strict sexual code of conduct and other related marital laws are written in the Holy Bible and the Quorum. It is common to listen to Christian sermon on television, radio condemning the indecency and moral laxity and obscenity of our secondary school students these days, reaffirming the biblical quotations “thou shall not convert thy neighbor’s wife is a form a sex education.
Religious laws on child abuse, per-marital sex, personal cleanliness, immorality all border on education for family living and sexuality.
It is observed by Mayshark etal (1968) that whether or not the school assume the responsibilities teaching sex education is no longer a matter for debate. They further tried to examine the characteristics of those that attend our primary and secondary schools and they are basically the teenagers who showed a wide variation in social maturation, which become a problem, because cultural and community expectations are high. They said they love pleasure, day dream a great deal and have especially the boy’s insatiable sex drive. These characteristics would not have constituted such a big human sexuality problem to the extent that our teenagers need sex education, if our societal norms are not being rapidly eroded by technical changes and mass media bombardment. The end results of these influences are that the formal practices of grooming our teenagers in the act of establishing a happy traditional life, respect for marriages, living within the unpopulated moral dictates of the society have been negatively modified.
Therefore, sex education deserves a better place and approach in the basic and secondary schools’ curriculum in Delta State for the following reasons:
(a) The basic and secondary school students deserve to understand, what constitute maleness and femaleness without any embarrassment. He needs a proper adjustment to his sexuality.
(b) Physical and sexual aggression is a characteristic of the adolescent. The teenager is no exception. There he needs an education that would help him to channel his sex impulses along responsible and desirable end.
(c) The teenager has good ideas and question mind; he is a person learning to grow and he cannot achieve this in a vacuum or without the express guidance of the school. As someone getting ready for the future, formal education must be part of his growth.
(d) The teenagers today would be adult of tomorrow; within the Nigeria culture we would have to marry to be accorded adult status. He would bear and raise children. He would play the marital role to be deemed grown up and responsible. These are very demanding and therefore needs adequate preparation. Sex education of the secondary school level is a critical phase in his life, is the answer Abiodun (1981).
THE NEED FOR SEX EDUCATION IN OUR BASIC AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS SYSTEM
As a matter of fact, it is very obvious that sex education has been avoided in our public primary and secondary school system in Delta State. Most knowledge that is supposed to be impacted, as sex education is unorganized and students do not recognize such knowledge as sex education. Gruenber (1949) as cited by Egbagbara (2006) has correctly pointed out the fact that almost everybody now recognizes his growing children inevitably do get some “education” regarding sex, even if it is not always the kind we like, continuing education pupils parents, religious leaders, social workers and public officials, generally agree that some kind of planned sex education is necessary, although there is less agreement as to how and whom it should be given to.
The writer strongly feels that there is an even more urgent call for the introduction of sex education into the curriculum of Delta State Basic and Secondary School Education system, now than any other style of our national existence as a result of the socioeconomic changes taking place.
Lucas (1969) in his article titled “Out of Speech” as characterized by staggering discoveries of all sorts of pervasive sex attitudes and also for the fact that these days there is an earlier onset of puberty which presents a dangerous image of life and love. Dangerous, it is disturbed by the proliferation of showing sex “He then warned that it would be perilous if not catastrophic to allow young people to find their way without arming them first with basic information. To be effective therefore, concepts should be watered to do so that the message could understood the communication problem notwithstanding annual conventions and papers on sex education could be very educative for the basic and secondary school youth. Kola (1981) supporting the ideas, states that adequate early sex education particularly in our schools, can prevent such problems as misuse of sex, the spread of venereal diseases, unwanted pregnancies, abortion etc. vulnerable youths –stars now give their hearts to strangers.
And teenagers often get involved with people who may be unsuitable. These and others alike are reasons enough for inclusion of sex education programs in the Delta State Basic and Secondary School System Curriculum, which will help increase open communication between the sexes and to facilitate easier everyday relationship. In this regard, trust and respect for the opposite sex could also be induced.
Sex education is also important in the promotion of sexual health by the modification of individual attitude about sexuality towards the direction becoming more liberal and accepting the sexual behaviors and values of other and self.
Tebori (1985) noted that one of the potential goals of sex education is the avoidance of controversial moral issues continuing, he emphasized that eliminating the wide spread acceptance of myths and replacing physical, mental and maturation processes of sexuality are central to the concept of sex education.
Reflecting on the socio-public health problems of our society such as prostitution, increased rate on venereal diseases (sexual transmitted diseases), indiscriminate use of contraceptive by our adolescent females, unwanted pregnancies, the writer is of the view that there is need for the inclusion of sex education in the Delta State Basic and Secondary School System Curriculum. As there are few areas in the school curriculum that arouse interest reaction, intellectually as well as emotionally, as the topic of sex education. It is on the ground, that the writer observed that ignorance and mythology concerning sexual pervade society and contribute to negative self-views, faulty inter-personal communication, sexual dysfunction, venereal diseases and unwanted pregnancies. It therefore becomes apparent that more information is necessary, but certainly sufficient for a comprehensive sex education program, as results from different studies have shown that sex education should be integrated into the basic and secondary school curriculum, because it has not been a teachable subject in many schools. Infact, it should be continued to be taught from the primary school to secondary school level.
More also parents should have the responsibility of understanding the growth and development of changes in children and acquire the scientific information and a vocabulary with which they can express themselves with ease in talking about sex. In considering the effect of the ignorance and lack of organized information on matters relating to human sexuality, the need to have sex education introduced into the curriculum of the Delta State Basic and Secondary School System should be advocated by all and sundry. Some people tend to oppose the idea of sex education, such protagonists seen to say that formal instruction and factual information about sex is unnecessary. Such an individual fails to realize that an awareness of the sensitive nature of sex education will give a valid ground to a potential and well-adjusted individual.
From this point of view, the writer is of the view that schools should utilize the services of experienced and knowledgeable medical officers, school health educators, nurses, psychologists, biologist and physicians in presenting the idea regarding sex education. As educators, we must realize the distinct qualities of the various role we play in this experience of preparing our children for the sexual aspects of the life, they now lived and in the future. We have a great opportunity and a serious responsibility we cannot be remiss with either.
Having exhaustively discuss the need for the inclusion of sex education in the curriculum of Delta State Basic and Secondary School System, the following are recommended.
(1) Sex education should be immediately initiated by all the tiers of government of the federation of Nigeria in their primary and secondary schools’ curriculum, where it has been neglected and be taken more serious in schools where it is presently taught.
(2) The Government of Nigeria, most especially Delta State should embark on mass training of Health education and biology teachers who can successfully teach courses in the secondary school system.
(3) Sex education be made a compulsory subject or course for all colleges of education and faculty of Education of Nigeria Universities offering Health, Physical, Recreation and Biology education.
(4) Parents must be helped to re-educate themselves, about new trends and their responsibilities in their children’s sexual development co-operation of the home, school and other appropriate agencies should be advocated for the development of a healthy child in a suitable socially adjusted environment.
(5) Sex education should not be based on the needs of the child and society but should be integrated with other subjects in the primary and secondary schools, and in whom will be vested with the responsibilities should do well to admit freely to what they do not known to be true. They must educate, not in formulate a code of ethics, not preach strict self-denials, be objective, not autocratic and seek knowledge, no emotionally biased construct.
(6) The school should make use, of a forum for adolescence sex education. This goal should include the cultivation of health and frank discussion about sex, teaching of the scientific part of life, demonstrating the damages of promiscuity and inculcating sexual responsibilities in the youth. The social and psychological problems arising from boys and girl’s relationship and marriage should also be treated.
(7) There should also introduce sex education into secondary schools’ curriculum in Delta State.
The paper above summarizes the need for the inclusion of Sex Education in the curriculum of Delta State Basic and Secondary School Education System and recommendations were made.
COMR. EGBAGBARA OMARAYERUE BLESSING (JP)
(Principal Consultant, Mersmars Consult/Branch Chairman
Nigeria Union of Teachers Ughelli North Branch)