Sex Education: Arguments for and Against

March 22, 2021 1569 views 3 minutes reading time
Sex Education: Arguments for and Against
For Sex EducationAgainst Sex Education
1. Leads to informed choices regarding sex 

A report by UNESCO indicates that sex education offers young people the opportunity to make informed decisions about their sexuality and reproductive health while equipping them to protect themselves from sex-related illnesses such as HIV.

1. Goes against religious and traditional values

The majority of African countries have not embraced sex education, with many parents being uncomfortable with allowing teachers to introduce leaners to the topic. Research shows that those tasked with the job (often older family members) might feel embarrassed and the information they share may even be outdated. 
2. Reduces the rate of teen pregnancy

A global research on sexual and reproductive health in low- and middle-income countries revealed that at least 21 million pregnancies are recorded each year among adolescents, 50% of which are unintended. The research further breaks down the numbers to show that 5.7 million of these adolescent pregnancies are terminated in unsafe conditions. With sex education as a key pillar in education curricula, unsafe abortions can be avoided, if not eradicated.

2. Encourages sex

Some of those opposing the incorporation of sex education into curricula speculate on the possibility of increased sexual relations between learners. They argue that such a sensitive topic would open up learners to sexual relationships very early (though no research supports this view) which would consequently lead to an increase in early pregnancy and teenage school dropouts.
3. Gaps in information lead to risky sexual conduct

A study was conducted in different African countries on girls between the ages of 13-19 to determine their knowledge and understanding of sex-related issues. According to the study, the majority of girls who had dropped out of school at the age of 15 did not comprehend their own sexuality because they had not received sex education by the time they left school. Though a majority of the young girls had heard of HIV/AIDS, they did not have proper information on the mode of contracting it and still believed myths about the virus. Such gaps in information can be avoided if all-encompassing sex education is incorporated in curricula.

3. It is a “Western import”

When sex education was proposed in some African countries, many church organisations, parent associations and civil societies were opposed to some of the values that were being propagated to the learners. It is due to their protests that some countries chose to omit some topics that were deemed unfit for the African cultural set-up. Mozambique, Nigeria and Senegal have chosen to exclude topics on abortion, masturbation and homosexuality in their curricula.

Image by World Bank Photo Creation via Flickr