Sex education entails teachings on human reproduction, anatomy (sexual), health, sexual intercourse, contraception, among other aspects of sexual behavior in human. Sex education aims at reducing the risks associated with negative sexual behavior outcomes and largely, the unwanted teen pregnancies. Sex education would be very vital to the youth through assisting them in developing abilities and skills to help in making sound decisions regarding lifetime relationships. Thus, sex education contributes positively to the reduction of teenage pregnancy prevalence. This paper looks at the importance of increasing sex education in schools in an attempt to curb teenage pregnancies.
Sex education provides opportunities for young people to develop skills, as it is hard for them to act on the basis of only having information. Skills acquired through this education would enable young people to communicate, negotiate, listen, and ask for help and spot sources of advice and help, which they would apply in sexual relationships. Young people’s life skills of negotiation, decision-making, assertion, listening, being able to recognize pressures from other people and to resist them, dealing with challenging prejudice and being able to seek help from adults including parents, care givers and professionals would be sharpened and would mark a great success in the fight against teenage pregnancies(united Nations Declaration on human Rights).
Sex education also helps to equip young people with the skills to be able to differentiate between accurate and inaccurate information, and to discuss a range of moral and social issues on sex and sexuality that help them make informed decisions and be aware of any possible occurrences of unplanned pregnancies. In addition, youths will fully comprehend the moral models and attitudes that leads to different behaviors among individuals. The youths are mostly interested in the cultural and moral frameworks connecting sex and pregnancies. They often talk about issues on pregnancies where people have strong views. Though sex educators carry their own beliefs and attitudes on sex and sexuality, they should not allow these to negatively influence their sex education provision. For instance, even if one believes that young people should not play sex before marriage, he/she should not withhold essential information regarding contraception and safer sex. Bandura (1992) recommends that instead of scaring young people from playing sex, valuable sex education should incorporate working on beliefs and attitudes with skills development which allows the youths to choose whether to have a sexual relationship or not taking into considerations the probable risks of sexual activities. Sex education is also easy to administer since young people may get information from a wide range of sources including each other, through the media, magazines, leaflets, books and websites [International Planned Parenthood Foundation].
Sex education looks at establishing what the youths already know, adding to their existing knowledge as well as exacting any misinformation they may hold. For instance, the youths may have heard that there is a cure for HIV/AIDS or condoms are 100 per cent effective against the disease. It is important to provide information and knowledge which educate youths on myths and beliefs. Young people require information regarding the emotional and physical changes linked with sexual reproduction, and puberty, birth control and contraception as well as available contraceptives and their applications.
Sex education should commence in the early stages of human development, prior to the puberty stage and before maturity. However, the exact age will depend on the development stage (i.e. intellectual, physical etc.) among the youths. The content and delivery mode, rely on who is the provider of these sexual information, what time and in what environment, and also what information is being sought by the young person. Provision of elementary information to young people provides a foundation on which more advanced knowledge on sexuality is established. Therefore it has to be upheld. For instance, kids can be taught on how individuals grow and change with time, and how development from childhood to adulthood takes place, a thing that grants them an opportunity to comprehend thorough information regarding puberty as provided in the pre-teenage years (Monbiot, 2004).
Some individuals are apprehensive that provision of sexual information provokes curiosity and can result to experimenting on sex. According to Reich (1999) sex education has been a work of deception centering on biology while covering excitement which youthful individuals are interested in. Additionally some proponents and opponents content that sex education encourages tolerance and understanding about sexuality that directly help to reduce the number of victims of teenage pregnancy by half. Another perspective is inspired by sexologists like James W. Prescott and Sigmund Freud who views that liberation from social control and the control over one’s body are the key issues in sex education.
The main controversial points in debating on sex education are whether focusing on child sexuality is helpful or harmful, the use of hormonal contraception, contraceptives like condoms and the way they impacts on teenage pregnancy. Increased support in educating youths to abstain as the only way out from teenage pregnancy by conservative beliefs has resulted in controversies. Some countries such as United States and the UK which holds conservative attitudes on sex education report a higher occurrence of teenage pregnancies. International organizations, for example, the “Planned Parenthood” believes that sex education program carries global benefits for instance managing the risk associated with over population and women rights advancement by youth empowerment against unwanted pregnancies. According to Sieucus (1999) “The Sexuality Information Education Council” of USA, 93 per cent of adults surveyed supported sexuality education in high school and 84 per cent supported it in junior high school. This tells us that sex education is needed in our society for not only the teenagers but also the educators like parents, guardians and also the policy makers to think on how to improve on sex education and make it easily accessible to all including those youths in rural areas.
Bandura, A. (1992) self-efficacy mechanism in psychobiologic functioning, self -efficacy: thought control of action pp. 155-189 Washington: Hemisphere.
International Planned Parenthood Foundation. Web.
“Joy of sex education” by George Monbiot, The Guardian, 2004.
Sex education in America (Washington D.C. National public radio, Henry J. Kaiser family foundation and Kennedy school of government, 2004, p.5.
SIECUS Report of Public support of sexuality education 1999 Sieucus Report online. Web.
Wilhelm Reich (1998) sexual relationships of pubescent-paragraph 4.a (pp. 198-9 of Italian edition).