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Sexuality education in schools: What’s the agenda

SCHOOL girls.

Life: What a journey CHARLES CHISALA
THE lobby for the government, through the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education, to implement the teaching of sexuality education in schools seems to have picked up momentum.
The lobbyists argue that the inclusion of sexuality in the school curriculum will improve sexual and reproductive health among young people, reduce the spread of HIV and AIDS and gender-based violence.
They believe that the lack of knowledge and skills has contributed to the high incidence of child marriages, unplanned pregnancies, school drop-outs, defilement and HIV infection among adolescents.
The boys and girls, they say, need evidence-based information for them to understand the changes taking place in their bodies and improve their risk recognition and management skills.
But this crusade is not new in Zambia. Nor is the argument. It has been mounted in the past but failed to deliver the expected results.
I remember in the 1980s when I was still in secondary school sexuality education was introduced in public schools as a response to a similar campaign.
But the results were a disaster, the exact opposite of what the lobbyists had insisted would be the outcome.
There were more pregnancies among school girls, an upward spiral in the number of girls dropping out of school as a result of early marriage or pregnancy.
The government was forced to abandon the subject amid an uproar from parents, the church and traditional leaders.
I am appealing to education authorities to tread with utmost caution when considering the calls for the implementation of this sensitive and potentially harmful subject.
Authorities should thoroughly examine both its positives and negatives before re-introducing it in Zambian schools.
Such crusades are often couched in sweet sounding language with impressive statistics aimed at convincing policy and decision-makers.
I personally do not want to see a situation where young people are taught how to enjoy sex, and misled into thinking that they are free to do whatever they want with their bodies.
That has been at the core of the human rights movement’s crusades. Not long ago girls were being told in advertisements broadcast via radio and television, and published in newspapers and magazines that no one had the right to question what they did with their bodies.
“It’s my choice, it’s my life,” screamed the adverts. Programmes were sponsored on radio and TV at great cost to promote this highly misleading slogan, whose double meaning the girls welcomed with excitement.
Whenever their parents tried to counsel the young people to refrain from immoral behaviour they would retort, “It’s my choice.” Today, many of them are gnashing their teeth as a result of their “own choice”.
Their lives are in a mess, and those who had misled them are nowhere near to render them any support.
As parents we have the right to know what teachers will be teaching our children about sexuality. We must be on our guard all the time to prevent the human rights movement from sacrificing our beloved children on the altar of the feminism agenda.
I am somehow consoled by the announcement by the lobbyists that the subject will be delivered using age-appropriate and culturally sensitive methodologies.
Or is it a mere smoke screen?
Hi Charles,
Your column is one of the reasons my children wake up early every Sunday morning to buy a copy of the Sunday Mail, and whenever they miss it they know that the friendship is impaired. At least for a considerable period.
Back to pronunciations, your works of trying to correct us will go a long way because I have noticed that once we get to mispronounce words for whatever reasons, the wrong style goes on and on and even passed on to the younger generation.
Even scholars have surprisingly not been spared by this disease.
Some of the other pronunciations that perplex me, apart from those you pointed out, are for words such as “imporntant” for “important”, “retaliate” for “reiterate” and so on.
But the worst I keep hearing even from fairly schooled people is “to rus” instead of “to us”! Mwebantu sure, where does that very audible ‘r’ sound come from when the two words involved are simply “to us”?
Can someone show me? I know that the misunderstanding and confusion comes from the syllabication of the phrase “for us”, which in speech “forus” sounds like one word, and correctly so.
Certainly “to-rus” can’t just go. I know my young guys from ‘where the sun rises’ from always say cikulufye namumfwa (that there’s nothing wrong with the way words are pronounced as long as the listener knows the meaning).
Thanks and looking forward to the next article.
KEEN FOLLOWER. *********
Dear Charles, Greetings! You certainly made my day. I was at church this morning and guess what? Exactly as you have narrated.
This man of God mixed or rather said “internal life” meaning or instead of “eternal Life”. Interesting.
This is so common in Zambia. It is in fact ‘Zamblish’. I also had fun with this…… “When Jesus Klast comes he will give us lest. So let us make things light with God”.
It reminds me of a Muvi TV show called Spit It Out, where this poor woman struggles to express herself in the Queen’s language to the amusement of the audience.
You can tell she has a lot to share, but is limited by the medium of expression.
Nevertheless, she loves English so much that she cannot be persuaded to speak in her mother tongue.
She is an amazing lady. In short I do agree with you. Let our preachers or anybody else for that matter use the language with which they are most conversant.
It would make life so much easier! Kind regards LUFUMA.
Indeed. Keep reading the column.

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