The education sector in Ghana is set to undergo a new phase of comprehensive sexuality education in attempts to conscientize students about their sexual and reproductive health rights. But this new development has been met with hostility from both teachers and churches.
The new sex education program is running under the banner Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and targets primary school children aged 4. The overall objective of the planned sexuality education program is to equip children with full knowledge about their sexuality and reproductive health issues. It is intended to help "nurture positive attitudes, open-mind, respect for self and others, non-judgmental attitudes and a sense of responsibility concerning sexual and reproductive health issues".
The initiative is being backed by the Ghana government working in conjunction with the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). CSE is also supported by the governments of Sweden and Ireland. This is not only a program peculiar to Ghana as it is being launched in Ghana, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Introducing sexual education to children as young as 4 is something that is defended by the government - they argue that "subject content of the CSE would be age-appropriate to enable pre-schoolers to be empowered with values that would protect them from sexual harassment."
But not everyone in Ghana is in alignment with these proposed plans. Churches and teachers have opposed the move citing moralistic issues. They say that CSE is an evil plan manufactured to make children amenable to the ideas of homosexuality, bisexual and transgender activism.
The Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC) - a grouping of over 200 denominations in Ghana - has denounced this program, describing it as satanic. The graduate teachers' umbrella body has also said that they were not consulted on the new development.
Rev Prof Paul Yaw Frimpong-Manso, the GPCC president said, "I call it Comprehensive Sexuality Education it is Comprehensive Satanic Engagement."
Moses Foh Amoaning, leader of National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values said that CSE is an educational move clothed in ulterior motives, and also posing that the secret move is to introduce homosexuality. The pressure group is vehemently against homosexuality.
The prevailing notion is that introducing sex education to children who are not yet sexually active is simply demonic. And the move is expected to be put in motion next year.
Header image credit - GBC Ghana