The ministry of Education and Sports has asked the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) to integrate sexuality education in the school curricula in consultation with religious, cultural and political leaders.
This follows the development of the first-ever national sexuality education policy framework. Ministry permanent secretary Alex Kakooza said NCDC will also develop the necessary reference materials and guide for implementation.
“Our previous attempts to integrate sexuality education in school programmes have been largely at pilot scale and not properly guided. Most initiatives have been NGO-led, and not specifically designed for the Ugandan context,” Kakooza said during the recent launch of the framework at Kampala Parents School.
The launch was themed; “Value-based Sexuality Education for a Healthy Uganda”.
To-date, the only such comprehensive attempt at national level is the Presidential Initiative on Aids Strategy for Communication to Youth (PIASCY) launched in 2003 and later reviewed in 2015.
However, PIASCY has had limitations because of its focus on HIV and Aids. It also lacks a national consensus on the meaning and scope of sexuality education. Kakooza warned the public not to confuse the framework for sex education.
“The framework strongly affirms that sex education, which relates to learning about sexual intercourse, will not be entertained in our schools. Sexuality education has been defined as a process of forming attitudes, beliefs and values about physical development and reproductive health roles,” he said.
He said the ministry shall train and reorient teachers and teacher trainers to appreciate the sexuality education policy.
Given that age-appropriateness is a key principle, learners have been grouped into five categories; early childhood (3 to 5 years), lower primary (6 to 9 years), upper primary (10 to 12 years), lower secondary (13 to 16 years) and A-level/tertiary institutions (17-plus years).
Each age group has been given only relevant topics and appropriate messages. Education minister Janet Museveni said without a policy, there were active threats targeting schools as recruitment grounds for homosexuality and other perversions.
She said some initiatives being promoted as sexuality education were, instead, promoting concepts that are culturally unacceptable in society and against Ugandan laws.
“When I came into the ministry of Education and Sports, I was deeply disturbed to discover that sexuality education initiatives were unregulated, unguided and, worst of all, were not based on our values as a country,” Museveni said.
“As government and as parents, we owe our young people a holistic education that not only equips them with career competencies and skills, but even more importantly, with values and attitudes for moral character formation.”
She was pleased that the ministry’s technical team on the framework led by Ismael Mulindwa, the commissioner private schools/institutions, heeded her advice to generate a policy which “we can proudly call our own, based on our national, cultural and religious values.”