• Though they may have adequate knowledge of sexuality education, teachers will only teach the subject if they are comfortable with it.
• UNICEF review concluded that programmes that addressed HIV and Aids issues are more effective when attitudes and values of teachers are taken into account.
According to UNESCO, comprehensive sexuality education aims at equipping children and young people with knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will empower them to realise their health, well-being and dignity.
They also develop respectful social and sexual relationships, learn how their choices affect their well-being and that of others, and understand and ensure the protection of their rights throughout their lives.
Adolescents are engaging in sex at an early age and they need to understand how to protect themselves from unwanted advances, unintended pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Infections.
However, acquisition of this knowledge may be inhibited if attitudes and values of teachers are not taken into account.
A UNICEF review of life skills education programmes in Eastern and Southern Africa concluded that programmes that addressed HIV and Aids issues are more effective when attitudes and values of teachers are taken into account.
Though they may have adequate knowledge of sexuality education, teachers will only teach the subject if they are comfortable with it. Therefore, a key element in achievement of the subject will be to ensure teachers undergo comprehensive pre-training to assess to what extent they will accept providing comprehensive sexuality education, and their beliefs.
If we do not address these sensitivities, teachers will avoid teaching the subject. Believing comprehensive sexuality education will lure adolescents into sex or increase rates of unintended pregnancy are all myths. Community awareness must, therefore, demystify these misconceptions.
For this awareness to impact among adolescents, teachers — as the implementers must be supported through training to ensure their values and attitudes correspond positively with the requirements of providing comprehensive sexuality education, and ensure their values and attitudes work in the interest of learners.
Naya Kenya, Nairobi