Comprehensive sexuality education is vital in curbing cases of unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases as it ensures that young people are equipped with competencies they need to make safe and responsible choices about their sexual and reproductive health.
The remarks were made by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) representative, Jozef Maerien, last Thursday during the official launch of a teacher-training programme geared towards equipping teachers and stakeholders in the education sector on key features of the new curriculum and learner-centred teaching methodologies.
The three-day training also aimed at providing deans of studies from 1,508 secondary schools from 30 districts an overview on the importance of comprehensive sexuality education.
Maerien stressed that preparing young people for the transition to adulthood has always been a great challenge which the new curriculum hopes to address.
Comprehensive sexuality education emphasises a holistic approach to human development and sexuality. It views sexuality within the context of emotional and social development and also promotes human rights, knowledge, as well as skills for prevention of HIV and unwanted pregnancies.
““Young people receive a range of conflicting messages about sexuality on a daily basis but how we meet this challenge is our greatest opportunity in breaking the trajectory,” he added.
Parents need to be able to address the physical and behavioural aspects so that children are able to make responsible decisions regarding relationships and sexuality, he noted.
Janvier Gasana, the director-general of Rwanda Education Board, said potential partners should embrace the approach of a comprehensive sexuality education and sensitise all stakeholders for successful implementation.
“We need to do everything we can so that young people get the right guidance. With this era of technology they are so exposed and that’s why a sensitive approach is needed to put them on the right track. However this needs to be approached well so that the beneficiaries are not pushed in the opposite direction,” he said.
The training was organised by the Ministry of Education through Rwanda Education Board in collaboration with One UN.