Uganda to introduce sex education to 3-year-olds

KAMPALA

The Ugandan government has agreed to introduce sex education to children as young as three years, as long as they are in the school system.

The content, however, has been grouped into five categories to suit the age differences in the proposed subject.

The messages, according to Mr Aggrey Kibenge, the Education Ministry Undersecretary, have been developed to promote various skills and values, which a child is expected to learn and use while in and after school.

HIV

The first level will consider early childhood, which has been grouped between the ages of three and five. Here, the ministry expects a child to know their body parts, unacceptable forms of body touch and importance of proper nutrition.

The officials believe that a child at this stage will develop awareness, refusal and communicative skills to be responsible citizens.

Primary One to Four pupils, who are between the age of six and nine will be taught why some body parts are considered private, puberty, pregnancy, inappropriate touch and when to report it.

They will also learn about HIV/Aids and sexually transmitted diseases.

PEER PRESSURE

The third stage is for young adolescents, who are in upper primary.

The 10 to12-year-olds will be taught personal hygiene during puberty, importance of abstinence and peer pressure.

The messages are further developed to suit the next level of Senior One to Four students who are between 13 years and 16, while the last stage will cater for A-Level and tertiary institutions with students above 17 years.

“Children are exposed to different forms, frequencies and levels of physical, emotional and sexual violence in their homes and at school,” the report indicates.

According to the report, this includes young people at a tender age of less than five years who also at timed engage in exploratory sexual play that may include gender roles and behaviours.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS

It further states that there is a likelihood of more exposure to sexual gender based violence, ICT and media, especially cartoons in television programmes that are not generally censured at the age of six to nine.

Mr Ismail Mulindwa, the commissioner-in-charge of private schools and the framework coordinator, said the National Curriculum Development Centre will use the report to develop the curricula appropriate for the different groups.

Mr Michael Bukenya, the parliamentary health committee chair, warned that the framework gives teachers a lot of responsibilities, which some are likely to abuse.

But Mr Kibenge said teachers need a guideline to enable them handle handling sex education in schools.

“The framework gives us a minimum position which we expect will inform engagement and inform a child with regard to the nature of trust that this child will have with people around them,” he said.

Elephant poaching in Africa falls but ivory seizures up: study

Zimbabwe ‘disowns’ Robert Mugabe’s WHO ambassador appointment