- KICD argues that school children are minors and lack the ability to make their own decision on sexual consent as per the constitution.
- It notes that such lessons would amount to violation of a child’s right as prescribed in the Kenyan constitution.
The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development has dismissed advocacy to introduce comprehensive sex education in Kenyan schools.
The push by civil rights groups sought topics on prevention of HIV and other STIs, contraception and unintended pregnancy to be introduced in schools.
However, Senior Deputy Director in charge of Curriculum and Research Services Jacqueline Onyango has dismissed such a possibility noting that such practices would amount to violation of a child’s right as prescribed in the Kenyan constitution.
As it stands, Onyango said, those attending primary and secondary school are minors thus information on matters such as contraceptives would not be appropriate content as they lack the ability to make their own decision on sexual consent as per the constitution.
“These are children between the age of 10 and 17 we are talking about and as per the Kenyan constitution, such information is not appropriate,” Onyango said.
She spoke during a sensitisation forum of journalists on the new curriculum.
However, KICD says, it has made efforts to incorporate sex education that suits the Kenyan context through the current subjects taught in primary and secondary schools.
“Sex education is actually incorporated in our education system, for example, when they are in early years, we teach them about the parts of their bodies, reproductive health in upper primary and the lessons get more complex as they develop,” Onyango said.
On Sunday, Kenya Parents Association chairman Nicholas Maiyo pulled support for the decision by KICD noting it was meant to protect the minors.
Maiyo however, observed that as it is, the country lacks a proper framework to guide the required parental consent for students to receive sex education.
He also noted that parent’s involvement in developing the appropriate sex education is overshadowed by cultural retrogressive beliefs.
“It is a taboo to speak about sex in most of our cultures and this has not been made easy by the lack of sensitisation by the government,” Maiyo said.
The remarks come after a report released in June revealed that over 160,000 aged 10-19 were either pregnant or married off during the Covid-19 lockdown, according to a report by a study commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The report sought to find the effects of the nine months-long closure of learning institutions since the breakout of Covid-19 in the country in mid-March 2020.
Another study conducted in 2017, by research and policy organisation Guttmacher Institute, shows that nationally, more than a third of Kenyan teens between the ages of 15 and 19 have already had sex.
About one-fifth are currently sexually active. And while only four in 10 sexually active unmarried teenage girls use any modern method of contraception, the vast majority of them want to avoid pregnancy.
About one-fifth of them are already mothers, and more than half of these births were unplanned.
-Edited by SKanyara