Some pupils in Basic Schools in Northern Ghana want to be given sexual reproductive health education (SRHE) because their parents are not able to discuss such issues with them.
Some teachers, also in Northern Ghana, agree that SRHE should be taught at Basic Schools because some parents are not able to teach their children.
These were part of the results of a study commissioned by Norsaac, a civil society organisation, on raising awareness on adolescent sexual and reproductive rights.
According to the study, the teachers and students believe 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 and stem teenage pregnancies.
The study was conducted in August, this year, by a team of public health professionals from the School of Public Health, University for Development Studies.
The results were released during the second 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, Colleges of Education, and CSOs, among 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 content and context-relevant RHE for 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, said NORSAAC would engage more stakeholders on the findings of the study to enable them to appreciate the issues for necessary actions.
Mr Awal was hopeful that teaching 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 needed to be taught as they were engaging in sexual intercourse.
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.