Ugandan courts do not ban sex education

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MeN2016 Uganda Officials have rushed into the hall of the Green Hill Academy, a highly regarded elementary school in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. They had a curious mission. The Minister of Ethics and Honesty ordered them to seize a copy of Jacqueline Wilson’s “Love Lessons.” This is a book about how a 14-year-old girl called Prudence falls in love with her art teacher. The conservative Ugandans had seizures for fear that “erotic” and “distorted” books were brainwashing their children. Within a few months, all forms of sex education were banned. Last November, the court lifted the parliamentary ban and gave the Ministry of Education homework. This is to write a new policy on how to teach children about sex.

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The proceedings were not without surprise. Ismail Mulindwa, a senior official in the ministry, argued that teaching young people about sex could lead to masturbation and homosexuality. (Maybe he thought these were bad things.) The conservative view of sex education starts at the top. President Yoweri Museveni and his wife, Minister of Education Janet, have long promoted singleness as the best way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Both oppose condoms and claim to promote orgy. And the First Lady said that contraceptives not only can’t prevent pregnancy, but also erode morals and turn Ugandans into sex enthusiasts who “have sex, take pills, get pregnant and have an abortion.” Seems to be thinking.

Ignorance is dangerous.Death from AIDSIllness caused by HIV The virus has declined sharply, partly because many people are currently being treated, but the virus remains a major cause of death in Uganda.Know how to prevent less than half of young Ugandans from being caught HIV While having sex. Few people are familiar with contraception. About a quarter of teenage girls are pregnant or already have children. About 15% are married by the age of 15. About half tied the knot at 18.

These alarming numbers are exacerbated by the government’s negligent response to covid-19. The school was closed at the beginning of the pandemic almost two years ago and will only reopen this month. By June last year, teenage pregnancy rates had risen 17% since March 2020.

Officials drafting new policies will probably be able to learn from the mistakes of the past. The early 2018 framework proposed lifting the ban on sex education.But it also suggested teaching children the best way to avoid getting caught. HIV Don’t have sex. It made little mention of contraception. All it said about masturbation was that no one should do it. The only reference to gay sex was the name of the law prohibiting it.

The framework referred to God 62 times, with “fearing God” as the main guideline. Still, some devout people were still unsatisfied. Some Muslims felt that the policy was too Christian. Some Christians thought it wasn’t conservative enough. Rev. Stanley Ntagari, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Uganda, said:United NationsOrgy, homosexuality, sexual agenda in favor of abortion. ” The coalition of religious leaders agreed with only one thing: to reject policy altogether.

Officials drafting the new framework may consider what worked elsewhere. UNESCO Teaching young people about condoms has proved to be much more effective in controlling pregnancy. HIV Not only teaching abstinence, but other sexually transmitted diseases. A better framework should also endeavor to help young people avoid exploitative or violent relationships, and is the Ugandan non-profit organization Health, Human Rights and Development Center that led to the case that overturned the ban. Rose Wakikona says. She describes another case of a 9-year-old rape victim. She testified that the man “sleeped on her” because she could not explain the act.

Education is the beginning, but it’s only part of the puzzle. Approximately 28% of Uganda’s married women who want to use contraceptives do not have access to contraceptives, and the “unmet need” for Uganda’s contraception is that 25% have not yet obtained contraceptives in sub-Saharan Africa. Is higher than the average of. The Ministry of Education is not the only one with a lot of homework. ■■

This article was published in the printed version of the Middle East and Africa section under the heading “Birds and” Quietly “”.

Ugandan courts do not ban sex education

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