Less than two months ago I wrote an article calling for a national conversation on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in our schools. I guess most of my readers did not realize the imminence of the phenomenon. Here we are! I am happy that virtually the entire nation is discussing the issue at this time. This will go a long way to help our children. In the end, I hope the Ministry of Education (MoE), Ghana Education Service (GES), and National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) will learn from the contributions that are being made.
Notwithstanding, it has become quite obvious that a lot of the complaints and contributions out in the mass media are borne out of gross misinformation. This is the aspect of the current ‘pandemonium’ I regret. I find it very unfortunate that such a serious national discussion is riddled with a substantial amount of false information. I am hoping that the GES statement dated 30th September, 2019 will clear much of the air for us to have an informed conversation. So let us set aside all the picture and video materials from other sources and concentrate on the CSE guidelines available to us. Though the GES has said that it is yet to approve that document, I think we should go ahead and have a discussion on it in its current form as a nation. With that, the GES and the NaCCA can further fine-tune it before it is used in our schools.
As I stated in the previous article, CSE is already in our curriculum. You will not identify it as a stand-alone subject. From the 1950s, when Civics and Hygiene were in the educational curriculum to the days of relatively recent subjects like Life Skills and Social Studies, aspects of CSE have been taught in our basic schools. The same tradition continues with this new set of guidelines. It will be integrated with Social Studies, Moral and Religious Education, Integrated Science and others.
Going through the new guidelines, I noticed that the authors were mindful of the age at which a child is introduced to a topic. This appears to be very good until you notice that children at the age of ten (10) will learn about “Relationships: friendship, dating and courtship.” At the age of twelve (12) they will be taught “Fertility Regulation- abstinence, contraceptives and other methods.” At that tender age of twelve (12), they will be exposed to “Unintended pregnancy and Abortion.” These and other topical areas are ‘mixed’ with seemingly attractive and important topics like “Personal hygiene,” “Population of Ghana,” “Roles and Responsibilities as a Child,” and many more. (You can make time and go through pages 10 to 14 of the document if you have not read through).
Are we ready for this? Has it gotten to the point where it is good education for a ten year old to be taught about dating and courtship? How is it appropriate for someone who is one year shy of teen age to be taught about unintended pregnancy and abortion?
One of the arguments against this form of CSE in our schools is that it is a deliberate attempt to sow seeds of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ) rights in Ghana. Those advocates have good reason to say so. The guidelines seem to be Ghana’s attempt to further lower the low standard of morality in the country. The lower it gets, the closer we will get to perpetuating the so called rights of deviants who will want to play victims. We will eventually start having funny conversations on Pro-Choice and Pro-Life (For those who may not know, they are terms in the abortion debate).
Ghana is ours. We must decide what we want at this point. Our leaders may suggest what they think, but the ordinary woman and man out there must have a say in this. What is the extent to which consultations were made to come up with this? They have said so much about children’s right to education. It is now time to talk about parents’ right to have a say in their children’s education.
Do you know what is alarming about this whole thing? Those pushing for ‘full blown’ CSE know very well that they will meet resistance in places like Ghana. They will keep coming at us in different ways. This is what was written in a 2018 document on Sexuality Education in Europe and South Asia commissioned by the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZGA) of Germany and the European Network of International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF):
“It is encouraging to see that sexuality-education program can be developed and implemented even in countries where there is serious opposition.”
My brothers and sisters, we have encouraged them!
I respectfully appeal to the GES and NaCCA to review the CSE guidelines document and any other related document before it is finally approved.