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The challenges of teaching sex education in Uganda

von Edwin Nuwagaba Babimpa (Autor) Stuart Bishop (Autor)

Studienarbeit 2017 17 Seiten

Pädagogik - Schulwesen, Bildungs- u. Schulpolitik


Table of Contents

1. Introduction
1.1. Background
1.2. What is sex Education/Adolescent Reproductive Health?

2. The case for and against sex education
2.1. Preventive measure/strategy
2.1.1. Vulnerable groups
2.1.2 Age of first sexual encounter
2.2. Closing the gap
2.2.1. Children and parents.
2.3. Demystifying/ counteracting bad and or wrong information
2.4. Preparing/initiation for the future into adulthood.
2.5. Defence/Safety measures.
2.6. Saving the body or Soul.

3. Conclusion

4. Way forward.



The paper discusses the policy of introduction of sex education in Uganda schools. It is presented in phases, starting with the introduction which gives the background, definition of sex education; the case for and against sex education, conclusion and recommendations or way forward. The background traces the historical perspective looking at the history of HIV/AIDS in Uganda, the measures put in place to fight the pandemic and the introduction of sex education as one of the mitigating factors.

The main body looks at the main points of contention in sex education. These are the preventive factor which covers vulnerability and age of first sex encounter; closing the gaps, that is, between children and parents, demystifying and or counteracting the bad and wrong information, preparing for and initiation into adulthood, defense and safety measure and lastly the religious aspect of whether to save the soul or the body. Each of these is discussed for and against.

This is a survey that was carried out at random among the parents in Eastern Uganda, and other elders and religious leaders. The paper is basically descriptive in nature following a post positivist paradigm.

1. Introduction

1.1. Background

In the early eighties, the cases of HIV/AIDS were identified in Rakai district Uganda. By the mid eighties the diseases had spread like bush fire. Many people had lost their relatives and dear ones. The number of orphans and widows increased tremendously. AIDS had become a monster and had come to stay. Many theories emerged as to what could be the cause of this. Unfortunately, little was done to avert the trend. In 1986, with the coming to power of NRM government, war on Aids was declared. The government started talking about the disease openly. This involved open talk on the causes of the disease and its effects. Safety measures were called for as well as abstinence. The media and especially the radio and television were the major communication channels. As a result of the above , according to Y.K. Museveni – (2003) in the introduction to PIASCY. ‘This led HIV prevalence to fall from 30% in 1992 among antenatal mothers in the most affected areas to an overall weighted average of 6.1 today.’

Later in its campaigns, the government instituted the AIDS commission. This was mandated to campaign against the spread of HIV/AIDS. It came up with a number of programmes to achieve this. One of such programmes was the straight Talk foundation. This came up with a monthly magazine on issues related to AIDS and HIV. In this magazine issues of sexuality were addressed. The first day the magazines hit the streets – through newspapers as pullouts, there was an outcry from all stakeholders. This worsened with the distribution of the paper free of charge to secondary schools. Most religions organizations and parents felt the magazine was increasing immorality in schools! It was infecting the young minds with dirty ideas from the already spoilt – who contributed to the magazine. The main issue of contention was the call for the use of a condom if not able to abstain. To religious leaders this was tantamount to giving permission to the children to sin. As the was still raging on, straight talk foundation came up with yet another publication – the “Young Talk”, a sister paper to Straight Talk but targeting upper primary pupils. This was adding injury to the wound.

In February 2002, the New Vision came up with a striking head line – “ Museveni calls for Sex Education” (New Vision 4th February 2002). The article stated that ‘President Yoweri Museveni has said that he will formally write to the Ministry of Education officials instructing them to implement the teaching of sex education in scholars’.

This call by the president raised a lot of concern in all and sundry in the spheres of society. Most on the frontline against introduction of sex education were religious leaders from all major religious denominations. To most, sex education was like sending the children to hell. The problem it seemed lay in what was meant by sex education.

To most, sex education implied teaching the young about sexual intercourse. Others went to the extent of questioning what types of teachers were to be involved in the teaching of the new subject. These fears and many others according to MS Kizza of ICR – Uganda, led to government and other parties change the name to Adolescent Sexual Reproductive health, and life planning skills. A rose would still be a rose by whatever name and so does the idea of sex education. Under whatever name the curriculum content and aim remain the same.

In spite of the very many contradicting ideas, government has gone ahead to push for the introduction of the subject in schools. In primary schools, this is mainly done under PIASCY – Presidential Initiative on AIDS strategy for communication to the youth, in secondary schools, under life planning skills and adolescent sexual reproductive. Materials and curricular content have been designed and advocacy campaigns launched. In spite of all this the idea of introducing the subject still hangs in balance. In this paper, we analyse the reasons for and against the idea.

1.2. What is sex Education/Adolescent Reproductive Health?

According to World Health Organisation, ‘Reproductive Health is a state of complete physical, social and psychological well being of an individual and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity in matters related to the productive system, its functions and procedures’.

This means, therefore that the subject aims at equipping children with matters related to sexuality.

According to PIASCY pamphlet (2003) Reproductive Health refers to everything good and bad – that happens to reproductive system.

Reproductive health is about how children relate to their private parts and sexual feelings. The aim of sex education is proper delivery of preventive messages to cause behavioural change and development among children. According to Young talk of March 2002, ‘Sexual Education does not teach the mechanics of sexual intercourse’. This is tow with what is stated in sexual Reproductive Health for they young people (2003), which states that the role of sex education is to ‘Explain the concept of and practice of safe sex as a measure for the prevention of unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS’.

The life planning skills manual – A curriculum for the young people in Africa Uganda Version (2003), gives an almost related aim to the above, according to this one of the areas of sex education (life planning skills) is ‘….to know the facts about your own sexuality and learn skills to help you prepare for the future and healthy life.’

It goes on to state ‘….you must also learn to deal with new things about sexuality, your physical and emotional changes and how to make responsible decisions about reproduction and parenthood’.

From all the fore mentioned, it is seen that, as already stated, in spite of the various labels attached to it the fact remains the same – what is the content and purpose. The purpose of sex education is not only concerned with the present but the future also. It aims at educating the young generation about proper parenthood when they are of age. This is best summarized in PIASCY Handbook (2003) as ‘….it needs attention long before we get our first child and long after we get our last’.

2. The case for and against sex education

2.1. Preventive measure/strategy

2.1.1. Vulnerable groups

The major foundation for support of the programme is the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS victims. Available statistics show that globally twelve million youth are infected with HIV/AIDS. In Uganda over one million are infected. Eighty percent of those fall in the age bracket of 15years, with girls aged 15 – 19 being six times more likely to be infected than boys. All the age groups listed above fall in the school going age – mainly from upper primary to upper secondary. Introducing of the subject therefore targets at the very vulnerable group. The subject is aimed at preventive measures rather than curative.

Besides the above, Uganda is reported to be having the highest teenage pregnancy rate and orphans in the world. This is a pathetic situation that calls for an immediate intervention. The teaching of sex education is one such intervention.

True, some argue that this could be achieved elsewhere say by parent and religious leaders; but the underlying question is, why, in spite the various years of moral teaching and counseling has this pandemic continued to grow and persist? It is the failure of such to yield any positive trends that has led to an alternative approach – the use of sex education or adolescent sexual reproductive health.

According to a path pamphlet (2003:4) if the youth are not taught the dangers of early sexual activity, they are likely to find themselves contracting sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS.



ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
555 KB
Institution / Hochschule
Uganda Christian University




Titel: The challenges of teaching sex education in Uganda