The fallacy about sex education

First, I would like to thank the Minister of Education for directing that sex education should be removed from the basic education curriculum.

In the directive, the minister acknowledged the inalienable roles of parents as the primary educators of their children. I eagerly await the enforcement of the minister’s directive.  

Now, let me respond to Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi’s open letter to the Minister, which was published on November 6, 2022 (the “Letter”). In her letter, Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi urges the Minister of Education, to have a rethink about his directive and to consider retaining sex education in the basic education curriculum, albeit with some modifications.  
Before responding to the specific issues raised in the letter, I daresay that it is a good thing that we are having a national discourse on our national values, the role of education, religion and parental rights.  

In advancing the reasons for her support for the inclusion of sex education in the basic education curriculum, Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi recalled the story of Tanwa, the 13-year-old girl, impregnated by a neighbour. We must not lose sight of how and why Tanwa got pregnant – a neighbour who abused the trust that she reposed in him abused Tanwa. I sympathise deeply with Tanwa and with every other girl who has been the victim of sexual abuse. It is a terrible thing to be abused by persons who are responsible for you. I do hope she got the support she needed to get past that ugly event and to rebuild her trust in humanity and to forge a fresh path for herself.  

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi also alluded to the fact that parents are unable to discharge their duties of providing sex education to their children because of the economic situation in the country, which requires them to work round the clock to make ends meet. This is a sweeping statement if there was ever one. This statement does not take into consideration that many parents who, despite their incredibly busy schedule, make time to parent. 

In the Letter, one of the reasons she also proffered to the Minister of Education to support her position that we should leave sex education in the curriculum, is that religious leaders are some of the persons on the sexual offenders list. I have not seen this list, but it is safe to say that not everyone on that list is a religious leader. It is also safe to say that we do not know the moral values of all the teachers in the various schools across Nigeria. In much the same way as she has alluded to religious leaders being sexual offenders, stories abound in the dailies of teachers abusing children placed in their care.

Do not get me wrong, I am not condoning or excusing the vile act of abusing children physically, or sexually, or in any other manner. I am, however, constrained to point out that not all religious leaders abuse the position of trust conferred on them. There are still many good men and women who serve God with their whole heart and who do the right thing. Should we, then, because of a small percentage of irresponsible spiritual leaders, take away a service that these spiritual leaders provide? To spin-back Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi’s argument to her, how do I know that the teacher in the class is not a paedophile or a sex groomer who has simply not been caught?

I turn now to an issue the Letter did not speak to – the actual content of the sex education that is being provided to Nigerian children, under the guise of learning. Dear Reader, I crave your indulgence to reproduce some of the texts (a mixture of indoctrination, half-truths and outright lies) of what children are learning in school.  

In the inspire video series, the Balance in Nature video which is meant for students in SS3 encourages sterilisation – the cutting of the sperm duct as a beautiful method of family planning – and the presenter in the video recommends it for all men since it is of a permanent nature. The video also encourages hysterectomy. To put it in context, this video will probably be seen by students who are aged 14 to 18 years. I leave it to your imagination to decipher why our educational system is encouraging young children to be sterilised.

The Active Basic science, 2014 edition, which is meant for Basic 6 (children aged 9 to 11) describes the actual nature (experience) of the sexual act. Why we need this level of graphic detail for children in primary school, I do not have an answer to.

Stigma, a literature textbook, downplays the dangers of HIV. This literature textbook suggests that having sex with a condom keeps one safe from HIV. The text does not speak about the fact that condoms are not foolproof and have been known to fail. It also encourages kissing HIV patients. Question – are we encouraging our children to experiment with having sex with HIV patients?


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