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Make Sexual and Reproductive Health Education a core subject – Prof Asare

By Isaac
Arkoh, GNA

Cape Coast, July 19, GNA – Professor Kofi
Awusabo-Asare, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), has
called on the Ghana Education Service (GES) to integrate critical and
progressive Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) education topics in the
academic curricula.

He said the timely provision of accurate and
comprehensive information and life skills training regarding SRH and rights was
essential for Junior and Senior High School adolescents as they transition into
adulthood.

This was contained in a survey report made
available to the Ghana News Agency on SRH education carried out in the Brong
Ahafo, Northern and the Greater Accra regions.

Prof Awusabo-Asare said the integration of SRH
topics into core and elective subjects as well as co-curricular activities in
lower levels of education has resulted in many students being exposed to only
basic SRH education concepts.

Giving some examples to buttress his case, he
said: “Basic SRH education topics are introduced in the fourth year of
primary school, a level at which all subjects, including those that cover SRH
topics, are compulsory”.

However, at the Senior High school level, the
topics were integrated into Social Studies and integrated science and elective
subjects such as biology and management in living.

The situation, he said, has also resulted in
only a limited range of topics covered as part of the compulsory core subjects
in schools.

Topics such as communication and interpersonal
skills, which are imperative for adolescent development, HIV alert modules and
contraception topics, were included but neither of these subjects are taken by
all students.”

Prof Asare said other pertinent issues such as
negotiation skills, ability to manage risk, how to use and where to access
contraceptives, gender, marriage, body anatomy, gender-violence and equity were
not included in compulsory school studies curriculum.

Speaking on challenges with SRH education, he
said, issues involving young males were not given as much attention as those
involving females and added that beyond the physical maturation of young males
(semenarche), the challenges of male development and behaviours were not fully
addressed

He said the tone of the presentation in
effective SRH education was “challenged as information was often presented from
a negative or reactive perspective as exemplified with the introduction to the
adolescent reproductive health section in the social studies curriculum.

Prof Asare said the curricular focused heavily
on the importance of abstinence and the dangers of sexual activity but with
little attention to healthy sexual behaviours which the adolescent will need to
know in future.

He said the fact that some adolescents did
engage in sex for whatever reasons was ignored saying they needed to be
supported with the necessary information and resources to enable them to
protect themselves and make health decisions.

The report dubbed: From paper to practice:
Sexual reproductive education policies and their implementation in Ghana, was
made possible by grants to the Guttmacher Institute from the Dutch Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and the Swedish International Cooperation Agency.

GNA

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