It is not surprising that the recent directive by the Minister of Education, Mr. Adamu Adamu, to the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to expunge Sex Education from the basic education curriculum in Nigeria has been greeted with serious opposition from groups and persons who 0bviously derive some of benefits from the callous sexualisation of the tender minds of Nigerian pupils.
I am sure that many parents and concerned persons who have heard about the minister’s directive are highly relieved and happy and hoping that no amount of pressure from these misguided interest groups will compel the government to have a change of mind. Indeed, this is a major move towards sanitizing our primary and secondary education curriculum and salvaging the moral health of the younger generation which has been badly corrupted and diseased by very pernicious teachings that can only mould them into badly flawed characters.
When some years ago I was shown the topics covered in “Sexuality Education” or “Sex Education” which was being taught as a compulsory subject in both junior and secondary schools in Nigeria, it was shocking to see that mere kids, some as young as ten or even nine, were put in the hands of teachers, who deploy every energy, talent and creativity to saturate their tender minds with every detail about sexual immorality and the use of contraceptives.
When I first raised alarm on this issue in my now rested newspaper column, a concerned parent wrote me to say that the ‘Teacher’s Guide’ given to the Integrated Science teachers (who handled this subject) mandated them “to teach the children that religious teachings on issues like pre-marital sex, contraception, homosexuality, abortion and gender relations are mere opinions and myths! They are also to teach the students how to masturbate and use chemical contraceptives (designed for women in their 30s). The ‘Teachers Guide’ equally lays a big emphasis on values clarification; this empowers teenage children to decide which moral values to choose since the ones parents teach them at home are mere options.”
It was difficult to imagine that any normal person could have the mind to design such a subject even for the children of his worst enemy! In my view, this clearly qualifies as child abuse, which, sadly, was unabashedly endorsed by the authorities. But many Nigerian parents are highly elated today at the intervention of the Education Minister which has put an abrupt end to the whole sickening madness!
How can parents and concerned citizens smother the tormenting fears that some of the Sex Education teachers might aim to deftly deploy this subject to titillate their tender victims instead of giving them healthy education? One can imagine how easy it would be for a teacher who has been targeting a female student to use his creative elaboration of this subject, to get the girl so overwhelmed she would become easy meat.
I am told that there are two main reasons for the introduction of this subject in our schools. One is to empower school children with adequate knowledge about their bodies and how to “safely” indulge in pre-marital sex without falling victims to teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV/AIDS.
The second reason is to demystify sexual immorality, give it a positive image as something to be cherished and enjoyed without any fear, as long as it is done “safely” and consensually. The belief is that with the age-long “superstition” built around sexual immorality which ‘stigmatizes’ it as an evil and sinful activity, some kids tend to go into it with fear and dread, and so develop psychological problems arising from the guilt they feel afterwards.
But these reasons are simply hollow and unconvincing. They are built on the assumption that in the present age, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for unmarried people to abstain from sex. And so, instead of teaching the kids to place appropriate value to their bodies and maintain their self-esteem by abstaining from sexual immorality as our own parents had taught us, they are emboldened to behave like dogs. But the difference between human beings and animals ought to be the ability to reason and determine the consequences of actions, and then exercise discretion and self-control. Why not tell a kid the consequences of an action and use that to dissuade him from indulging in it? Has that not worked for ages?
Looking at the earnestness with which this policy is being pursued despite oppositions from informed parents and other concerned parties, one is forced to suspect that there may also be some commercial angle to it. Are we sure that substantial profit is not accruing to the initiators of this programme and their collaborators in government from the sales of the several books being written and printed on the vile subject? Support may equally be coming from manufacturers of contraceptives and the well-oiled NGOs they are promoting who certainly see in Sex Education a lucrative venture to promote and sustain.
Now, how far has this subject helped in reducing teenage pregnancies and STDs in the Western nations where it has been taught, assimilated and practiced for many years now? It is a fact that these teachings have, for instance, been introduced in both the United States and Britain for many years now, but as I write now, I have before me, a BBC report saying that Britain has the highest record of teenage pregnancy in the whole of Western Europe. Also, another report has it that the United States has the highest number of teenage pregnancies in the entire Western world. Again, in the United States, it is reported that new infections of HIV are still on the increase.
That naturally leads us to the contentious issue of “safe sex.” So, what is all this fetish about “safe sex” and how “safe” can sex actually be? The truth is that a lot of studies and findings have effectively punctured the dubious confidence built over the years on condom-use. We know that with an effective magnifying lens, it is easy to see that several objects, especially rubber and plastics, have tiny holes through which very minute micro organisms could pass.
I read somewhere recently that the “HIV virus is only 0.1 micron in size while the naturally occurring holes in a latex condom is of the order 5 to 50 microns in diameter.” So where then is the “protection” we have heard so much about if the deadly virus can indeed pass through the wall of a condom? Is this not why we have often heard reports of people contracting HIV even though they had practiced the so-called “protected sex”? This is the time to rethink all this stuff behind which some fellows have hidden to pollute the minds of kids with ruinous teachings.
Fortunately, we have one precaution that does not fail. And that is the good old abstinence, which has been proven and tested to be the only reliable protection against deadly STDs and teenage pregnancies? We must hasten to realize that what is at stake here is human life, and should not be toyed with, for whatever reasons. It is becoming increasingly difficult to understand this desperation to create an immoral and ungodly society by misleading the youths? Now, if not for reasons that are less than noble and wholesome, why would Nigeria be eager to import a policy that is failing even in more advanced nations?
Okay, here is another point to ponder: HIV is 500 times smaller than spermatozoa, yet research has established that spermatozoa are able to sometimes pass through the wall of a latex condom to cause conception. Now, if this is the case, are we not by this subject leading our youths through the minefield? The example cited earlier of the worrisome rise in fresh infections of HIV in a place like the US where years of successful Sex Education has achieved overwhelming attitudinal change in favour of condom-use should serve to buttress this point.
Now, with this policy in place and flourishing, where is this nation really heading to? What is the use living, if one must live like a dog?
I would, therefore, want to advise the school boy or girl reading this piece to please pause awhile and ask himself or herself what the initiators of this policy hope to achieve in his of her life by giving him or her these teachings? Such a youth should wonder how they still expect him to concentrate on his studies after they have saturated his mind with filthy teachings that only fill his mind with distractive lusts.
Now, if his instructors (who are mostly parents) are encouraging him to freely indulge in sexual immorality at this early stage of his life, what type of future leader do they expect him to become? After “empowering” him to go on the rampage, wouldn’t they have succeeded in giving him a disease deadlier than even the AIDS they are presuming to save him from – which is the destruction of his moral fibre?
What is the guarantee that he would be able to build a healthy family afterwards by shunning the promiscuity that this subject is surely preparing him for, and which, as we all know, results in the proliferation of broken homes which has become the nightmare of today’s world?
It is instructive that The Guardian on Sunday, July 18, 1999, carried a report that a cross section of American college (mostly female) students were regretting the limitless freedom their parents had allowed them and had resolved to devote themselves to pursue a “no-sex” campaign. But in Nigeria of today, sexual immorality has been deregulated and democratized.
But concerned Nigerian parents cannot afford to be intimidated and just watch helplessly as some fellows whose intentions are less than noble go all out to ruin their kids for them. And so, they should be able to ask: To what extent should the government interfere in people’s lives and families?
Where does the government derive the authority to invade somebody’s home with ungodly teachings and inflict them on the person’s kids, just because he gave his kid to the government to educate in its schools? Shouldn’t an open and clear expression of disaffection towards this gross violation by stakeholders have since led to its reappraisal and possible removal from the school curriculum?
Again, and very importantly too; most people have strongly accepted and hold very dear to their hearts the teachings they have received from the religious faith of their choice (which we as civilized people must respect) that sexual immorality which is a grievous sin against God attracts eternal damnation; and they are eager to ensure that both themselves and their kids escape this terrible doom; how then can we accommodate and respect this their belief (which is sacred to them) in this unwholesome insistence on teaching and encouraging their children to freely indulge in fornication? Should we just dismiss and callously tear down a belief they hold so sacred and dear, and with which they have determined to successfully raise their children to become morally healthy kids? As if it does not matter?
It is heartwarming that, at last, the Minister of Education has agreed with those of us who have continued to insist that this policy is ruinous and has ordered its removal from the school curriculum since it denies a large a number of people the option of choice. Many parents are not even aware that such a teaching is being generously forced down the throats of their precious children, thereby destroying all they have taught them at home.
Certainly, there are centres where some NGOs have established to propagate these pro-pre-marital sex teachings. Interested parents can take their children to those centres, while the objecting parents are spared the trauma of watching their kids being subjected to a menu they firmly believe is terribly unhealthy and ruinous. Their right to dissent must be respected.
*Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye's book, “Nigeria: Why Looting May Not Stop” is available on Amazon.com