Emily Ochieng: Make Sex Education in Schools Mandatory

By John Kariuki

We are in a digital era with children exposed to information explosion and misinformation.

Topping that is the hyper-sexualised society with children exposed to sexual content before they are developmentally prepared for it.

The government has been urged to immediately introduce and put key emphasis on sex education in the schools from a very elementary stage.

Emily Ochieng is a sexuality educator and she believes that the issue of sex education needs a multisectoral approach whereby all key stakeholders must join hands to address it. She says it must start with the parents.

She says, “Sex education shouldn’t only be in classroom.I make having relationships and sex conversations easier for parents . That’s an actual job I do.

“parents have a key role to play in the nurturing & development of their child’s growth-emotional, social or educational spheres. “We recognize your role as primary sex educator & model and influencer of sexual health of your child,” she said.

She also trashed the notion that sex subject is taboo.Shame can be unlearnt. She says the more parents remain tight-lipped on the issue, the more teen pregnancies will be the order of the day.

As a society it is our responsibility to support our children to navigate the biological and social transitions in life.

Emily opines that we should introduce our children to healthy sexuality education in order to equip them properly on the aspects of consent, healthy relationships and their body anatomy.

Sex education agoes beyond the pregnancy and STI infection prevention. It also equips children and adolescents on social aspect of sex such values, dignity ,respect , violence prevention , navigating friendships and healthy relationships.

“There is support for sexuality education from the Kenyan government, but education-sector policies have largely promoted an abstinence-only approach, which has resulted in a lack of comprehensiveness in the range of topics offered in secondary school curricula.”

“Let us learn to teach our children the body organs by their names and not feel awkward about it. Let a girl know that her sex organ is the vagina and for a boy it’s a penis. They are not bad words but body parts.Let us acquaint them with the fact that their bodily anatomy is a natural phenomenon that facilitates procreation.”

The lack of basic sex education has seen many girls dropping out of school due to teen pregnancies for lack of information.

The key is to realize that educating our children is more important than discomfort we feel.

Her parting shot is: Sex education is an essential Life skill and a safety tool.

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