We are very serious about sex education ÔÇô Steenkamp

Education ministry permanent secretary Sanet Steenkamp said the ministry is very serious about sex education in schools to combat increasing teenage pregnancy that has been recorded in the past years. “We have partnered with GIB and Global Fund we are having a work plan and we are working in all regions to train life skills teachers as well as other teachers on comprehensive sexuality education and we are unwavering that this will change the behaviour of the girl child as well as boys in schools,” she said.

Steenkamp further said that the ministry and the United Nations Population Fund produced a very good comprehensive manual that is already being used, while the ministry is also offering online courses for teachers on comprehensive sex education. The Villager understands that there are continuous efforts to educate teachers since it is still taboo in Namibia to talk about sexual reproductive organs in schools. There are also no other programmes in place to reintegrate young mothers back into school after they give birth.

 “We are very serious about this and we have series of workshops with teachers, and we look at what can be done to keep girl child in school after giving birth. There is a continuous myth that we need to break down around comprehensive sexuality education,” Steenkamp said.

She added that there are specific programs in place that deal with educating learners on HIV and sexually transmitted disease in schools as part of comprehensive sexuality education. The Namibia’s School Health Programme complements the Eastern and South African commitment to comprehensive sexuality education and sexual reproductive health rights. The initiative which was signed in 2013 by the ministers of Health and Education from the 212 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa, including Namibia strives to improve access to quality sex education and reproductive health services for all young people. Statics released by the United

Nations last year states that in 2013 more than 46 000 teenagers feel pregnant and about 127 girls every day in Namibia.  The report further states that the use of contraceptives among young people aged between 15 and 19 is 24% compared to a national contraceptive prevalence rate of 50%. However sexual activity can be compounded by poverty, peer pressure or lack of information. The Villager understands that sexual encounters can also happen by force or coercion and in a position of a power imbalance, the adolescent girl is likely to be able to negotiate contraceptive use including condoms for dual protection.