Officials from the Ministry of Education have told media they have started carrying out adolescent health and sexuality education in schools to equip students with information to manage themselves.
This development comes less than a month since Christian founded schools called for changes in this new policy, saying Church views were, “substantially ignored.”
In June, clergy under their umbrella organisation, The Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC) vowed not to introduce this curriculum in Christian schools until it is revised again by government.
Speaking on behalf of UEC, John Baptist Odama, the Archbishop of Gulu said the Church is not against sex education, and that despite having made suggestions to developing the curriculum, in the final edition of the document, their views were rejected.
He added that there is no guarantee that school teachers are prepared and able to teach in a balanced and proper way, such “delicate and emotionally charged topics.”
“Contrary to what many people think, the Church is in favour of a positive, age appropriate, culturally and religious sex education which upholds moral and Christian values because this task is a shared responsibility of the family, church and state through schools but unfortunately, in the published edition of the document, the contributions of the catholic experts have been substantially ignored,” read part of the UEC statement signed by the chairperson, John Baptist Odama.
Bishop Odama added that while the National Sexuality Education Framework contains some valid ideas and guidelines, it fails to answer some crucial questions such as the vital role of the family especially in the early ages and why children in the early years between 3 to 5 and those in lower primary (P1 to P4) are exposed to content and life skills which are not appropriate for their ages.
In an interview with the Daily Monitor at the inaugural sex education session at Kololo Senior Secondary School on Friday, Mr Henry Ssemakula, the officer-in-charge of counselling and guidance at the Ministry of Education, said some of the core objectives of introducing sexuality education in schools is to show the students how habits such as drug and alcohol abuse can lead to school dropout, early pregnancies, prostitution and acquiring HIV/Aids.
Ssemakula explained that henceforth the Uganda Health Marketing Group (UHMG) is coordinating the activities and they are partnering with World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Fund for Population (UNDP) and Unicef.
“UHMG came up with the concept which the Ministry of Education approved and wherever they go, they are required to go with someone from the ministry to ensure that they are teaching what is contained within the framework of sexuality education,” he told the news outlet.
Earlier on, the Ministry of Health said the policy document is sensitive to all social aspects and age appropriate therefore, “it was not bound to attract opposition from religious, cultural and political institutions because it had been drafted over a period of two years, through consultations with all relevant stakeholders.”