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    NGO faults Education Minister, Adamu’s directive on expunging Sex Education from school curriculum

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    Olu Samuel, Lokoja

    The Nigerian feminist forum,(NFF) has faulted the directive by the Minister for education,Adamu Adamu requesting
    the Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to review the basic education curriculum and expunge any sexual education content being used in schools in Nigeria.

    The NFF in a statement made available to our correspondent on Tuesday in Lokoja believes that the directive is ill-advised and stems from a place of ignorance on the value of sex education as a right and vital aspect of health education and holistic wellbeing of school-aged young Nigerians.

    “Access to sex education in school is a basic human right and a core public health principle. Providing accurate, incremental, age-and developmentally appropriate sex education is imperative for young people to be protected from the harmful effects of deviant sexual behaviours”.

    The forum said that “maintaining sex education in school curricula in Nigeria will play an important role in preparing young people for a safe, productive, fulfilling life in a world where HIV and AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, illegal abortion, gender-based violence and gender inequality still pose serious risks to their well-being.

    According to the forum,”expunging sex education from the Nigerian school curricula will only exacerbate these and myriads of other sex related risks that young school aged Nigerians are exposed to.”

    “According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the aim of sex education in school curricula is to equip young people with knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will empower them to: realise their health, well-being and dignity; develop respectful social and sexual relationships; consider how their choices affect their own well-being and that of others; and understand and ensure the protection of their rights throughout their lives.

    Culturally relevant, accurate, incremental, age and developmentally appropriate information about the emotional, physical and social aspects of sexuality will help young people to develop self-respect and define the values of interpersonal relationships. It will strengthen their communication skills and further equip them with skills that will enhance the quality of their relationships and decision-making skills, which will prove invaluable throughout their life.

    The forum said that contrary to the Minister’s notion that sex education should not be taught in Nigerian schools but rather taught “through other means that are known to man”, including instinct, socialisation and religious and cultural instructions.

    ” Evidence based research carried out at national and international levels has demonstrated the benefits of having sex education in school curricula, including: delayed sexual initiation; reduced risk-taking; increased use of contraception; and improved attitudes related to sexual and reproductive health.”

    The forum said that government and policy makers must take all necessary actions to provide safe, accurate and incremental sex education to young people in the country.

    “Sex education in schools is imperative in today’s information age where young people can obtain information otherwise, particularly through the Internet and social media. While these can be useful and appropriate sources of information, they can also convey a distorted image of sexuality and lack information on emotional and rights-related aspects of sexuality.

    The Nigerian government cannot afford to neglect the right to health and holistic well-being on sexuality education of millions of school aged Nigerians, the repercussions of such carelessness will negatively impact all aspects of the Nigerian society.

    “As a country grappling with severely weak health and social systems and services, the government must be proactive in providing access to information that protects its youth population and discard misleading information about the existing sex education curricula in the country.”

    The Nigerian Feminist Forum therefore calls on the Minister of Education to:
    retract his directive to expunge any sexual education content being used in schools in Nigeria, ensure that mechanisms are in place across the country to protect the right to health and holistic well-being of every school aged Nigerian and ensure that the sex education curricula in the country is in line with the International technical guidance on sexuality education.

    “We also call on Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to ensure that the policy on sex education in Nigerian school curricula is maintained ,ensure that public policies on sexuality education in the country is culturally relevant, accurate, incremental, age- and developmentally appropriate.
    create accountability and evaluation mechanisms that allows for public engagement including young people, parents, teachers, gender equality experts and other relevant stakeholders in the process of delivery and assessment of sexuality education programmes in Nigerian schools.

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