Teaching Comprehensive Sexuality Education at Secondary School: Towards Promoting Healthy Sexual Decisions among Pupils, Luapula Province, Zambia

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Teaching Comprehensive Sexuality Education at Secondary School: Towards Promoting Healthy Sexual Decisions among Pupils, Luapula Province, Zambia

Francis S. Sikanyika1, Rose Chikopela2, Christine Mushibwe3, Cynthia N. Kalizinje4, Moono Muvombo5, Sitali Mayamba6 & Colious Gondwe7
1Chisokone Secondary School, Department of Guidance and Counselling, Samfya, Zambia.
2Chalimbana University, Department of Special Education, Lusaka, Zambia.
3Unicaf University Zambia, Vice Chancellor, Lusaka, Zambia.
4ASHCA Institute, Lusaka, Zambia.
5-7Nkhrumah University, School of Education, Kabwe, Zambia.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.51244/IJRSI.2023.10420
Received: 27 March 2023; Accepted: 14 April 2023; Published: 27 May 2023

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Abstract: The study is an investigation into positive impacts of teaching Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) on pupils’ healthy sexual decisions. This study was purely a qualitative one employing a case study design. A total of 5 schools in Luapula Province were sampled, comprising 10 teachers and 40 pupils who were purposively and randomly selected. Data was collected using questionnaires and semi-structured interview guides while analysis of data was done using SPSS and themes. The study revealed that CSE has many positive impacts on pupils’ healthy sexual decisions, choices and behavior change in general; and also established misconceptions about CSE. The study recommends that CSE must be a compulsory, age-appropriate, co-curricular subject to all pupils in secondary schools and that teachers must endeavor to explain its importance and/or positive impact to pupils. This study concludes that pupils are able to make healthy sexual decisions if exposed to CSE more often.

Keywords: Positive impacts, teaching, comprehensive sexuality education, pupils, healthy sexual decisions.

I. Introduction

Sexuality education is one of the many cross cutting themes in the Zambia Education Curriculum Framework of 2013. The Ministry of General Education (MoGE) – now the Ministry of Education (MoE), has confidence that the integration of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in the school curriculum will contribute to the reduction of the various education challenges that come by due to limited information on sexuality education among youths (Curriculum Development Centre, 2013). Additionally, UNSAID (2006) indicates that properly designed and well implemented sexuality education can play a significant role in reducing the risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) including HIV transmission, unintended pregnancies, coercive or abusive sexual activity and exploitation.
Similarly, MoGE (2013) indicates that CSE provides structured opportunities for young people to gain knowledge, skills and positive attitudes and values which will help them apply life skills in addressing challenges with regards to their sexuality. Painstakingly, CSE can provide young people with age appropriate culturally relevant and scientifically accurate information (CDC, 2013).

In Zambia, prior to the development of the CSE Framework (2013) sexuality education was offered to pupils through what was generally known as the Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education (RHSE). It is important to note that RHSE features as a cross cutting theme in the Zambia Education Curriculum Framework. However, according to Moyo (2022) the CSE Framework is more detailed and designed to address the knowledge gaps in RHSE. Like RHSE, CSE is not a standalone subject, but its content features in some stand alone and examinable subjects (CDC, 2013).
The Comprehensive Sexuality Education Framework (2013) outlines topics anchoring on all aspects of human sexuality under the following themes: Human development; Relationships; Values, attitudes and skills; Culture, society and human right; Sexual behavior; and Sexual and reproductive health.