Parents’ perception towards the teaching of comprehensive sexuality education in secondary schools in Zambia: a case of Kalomo district
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The study investigated the perception of parents towards the teaching of comprehensive sexuality education among secondary school pupils in Kalomo District. The objectives of the study were to; investigate parents’ perceptions towards the teaching of comprehensive sexuality education among secondary school pupils, find out the aspects of comprehensive sexuality education parents want included in the school curriculum, establish the factors that are responsible for the parents’ perceptions over the teaching of sexuality education and to find out who parents think should provide sexuality education to pupils in secondary schools in Kalomo District. A total sample of 15 parents was drawn from three communities in Kalomo where sexuality education is being taught. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews. The data was analysed, coded and grouped according to emerging themes. The themes that emerged from the first objective were CSE improves the knowledge of the students, it provides life skills to the students, and sexuality education should be fitted in the Zambian cultural context. Other themes that emerged include inappropriateness of CSE in Zambian societies, sexuality education corrupts the morals of children, inappropriate age of children learn sexuality education, and that sexuality education violates the cultural traditions and values. The themes that emerged from the second objective were: puberty, birth control methods and abstinence, sexual transmitted diseases, the teaching of condoms, homosexuality and masturbation in schools. The themes that emerged from the third objective were: SE is a private matter, influence of culture towards sexuality, religious influence on sexuality and the inappropriate age of children learning sexuality education. The themes generated from the fourth objective were: teachers, family as a source of knowledge, and teaching CSE is a collective responsibility. The study revealed that the majority of the parents supported the teaching of comprehensive sexuality education because SE provides knowledge of development and life skills that the young people need to face challenges of this modern world. However, the parents were concerned with fitting of SE in the Zambian cultural context. The results showed that, although parents supported the inclusion of a wide range of topics in the CSE curriculum, they objected to the inclusion of some topics such as condom use, methods of abortion, homosexuality and masturbation. The factors that emerged in the study to influence the perception of parents towards the teaching of sexuality education include culture and cultural beliefs, religious beliefs, sexual experimental ideologies, ignorance of parent on matters of sexuality, and the appropriate age of children learning sexuality education. The study revealed that the teaching of sexuality education is everyone’s responsibility. The teaching of sexuality should be inclusive, and involve every adult member of the community. Parents indicated that sexuality education is the responsibility of everyone who has a vested interest in the education received by children in schools and as such should be shared equally by all concerned, parents, communities and schools. Based on the findings, the following recommendations were made; government should make sure that sexuality education is domesticated to the Zambian culture, government to ensure that parents are sensitized on issues of sexuality so that they could as well participate in teaching CSE to their children, government to train religious leaders and the parents on matters of sexuality, and government to develop a policy that will encourage the church, the parents and all the stake holders to work together with schools in teaching sexuality education. Keywords: Perception, comprehensive, sexuality education, secondary school, parents and Zambia.
University of Zambia