The Minister of Basic Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa says condoms have to be distributed in schools, as young people are constantly prompted to engage in sexual activities.
This approach was once shunned by the erstwhile Ministry of Education (MoE), which was still promoting abstinence, saying that condoms promote sexual activities among pupils.
“Condoms must be distributed at all places where it is necessary, including schools, because people have become more involved in sexual activities. I do not think it is a bad idea at all”, the minister said.
She added that condoms should not only be distributed in schools with hostels, but should be made available at all places where it may be necessary.
The Villager has spoken to parents to get their views whether government must consider distributing condoms in schools.
A father of two daughters and a son, Nuule Efraim, said government must consider distributing free condoms in schools as a way to reduce the spread of diseases and pregnancies.
“We have no option but to let this happen. We do not send our children to practice sex, and there is no parent expecting his or her child to be practising sex either at home or at school,” he stated.
He said parents have tried to stop their children from being involved in sexual activities because in many ways, it affects their academic performances.
Nuule said condoms should even be distributed in primary schools.
“This does not mean we are encouraging our children to be involved in sexual relationships, but it is an issue that we cannot ignore. These kids will be acting innocent when they are in our presence, but we have no idea what they do when they get back to their hostels,” he stressed.
He further stated that there are so many cases where children in school hostels returned to their houses because they fell pregnant.
“How do they fall pregnant if they are in school hostels where sex is not practiced?
I used to be a school matron, and you would find used condoms within the school premises. Who had used these condoms, if it is not school learners? It is them, and the only way to keep them on the safe side is to distribute condoms in schools”, he noted authoritatively.
A grandmother of seven children, Kuku Ali said children were supposed to focus on their education and succeed first before thinking of sexual relationships.
“Our children are supposed to appreciate the opportunities they are granted to study. But what I am seeing is different, as we sent them to school to study and get qualifications, but the person will return with a baby,” she lamented.
A grade 9 pupil aged 17 at the Windhoek High School said “it is a good idea for the government to distribute condoms, or rather all forms of contraceptives in schools, as young people in schools are practicing sex.”
He said constant sex education has to be delivered by the ministry at school level.
“One thing which encourages sexual activities on school premises are musical events, which are organized and held at schools. They create an opportunity for learners to do these evil things, and at the end of the day the pregnancy rate will be increasing,” said the learner.
However, some parents had different reactions towards the planned distribution of condoms in schools, as they feel like their children will be encouraged to get involved in sexual activities.
A mother of two daughters, Albertina Shikeva, said “we do not send our children to be taught sex, but for education. Where will they take the condoms if some of them are still young?”.
The Villager has a few years back reported that a total of 6 217 girls between the ages of 10-19 had fallen pregnant since 2010 in the Kavango Region alone, and this rate will keep increasing if no action is taken.