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Comprehensive sexuality education credited for reducing adolescent pregnancies in schools


Bulawayo (New Ziana)- The number of adolescent learners getting pregnant while still in school has gone down significantly due to the comprehensive sexuality education being provided in schools, a senior Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education official has said.

Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) is a sex education instruction method based on a curriculum that aims to give students the knowledge, attitudes, skills and values to make appropriate and healthy choices in their sexual lives.

With support from the Health Resilience Fund, the United Nations Population Fund is working with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to provide Comprehensive Sexuality Education under the Guidance and Counselling Learning area.

The Health Resilience Fund is a pooled fund led by the Ministry of Health and Child Care with financial contributions from the European Union, the government of Ireland and the United Kingdom, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and technical support from UNFPA, UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

CSE aims to empower young people with correct knowledge, attitudes,skills, and values to make informed Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights choices, which contribute to the reduction of teenage pregnancy and HIV/STI infections.

Speaking to journalists who are on a high-level field visit with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) here, Bulawayo province schools inspector for Guidance and Counselling, Lavinia Moyo said due to comprehensive sexuality education acquired by learners through guidance and counseling as a learning area, girls are even continuing their studies after getting pregnant.

“The issue of pregnancies has slightly gone down. We realized the schools we had selected to monitor are doing very well. They have fewer cases now and the re-entry policy is being well handled in schools.

“All this success we want to attribute to the programs that were introduced by the UNFPA where we are saying our learners have come to benefit and we are seeing very few girls going out of school because of pregnancies.

“Those who fall pregnant are retained in the school. This is all that Guidance and Counseling through comprehensive sexuality education has come to achieve,” she said.

The Guidance and Counseling syllabus covers topics including sexuality, child-headed families, poor discipline and drug and substance use.

Moyo said Guidance and Counseling as a learning area has been effective in schools to empower both boys and girls with sexuality education.

“All learners in the schools get an opportunity to be exposed to the comprehensive sexuality topics. They cover sexuality education to learners in their developmental stages,” she said.

Bulawayo province began with only 15 schools offering the Guidance and Counseling model, said Moyo

“We started with fifteen schools, five schools from each district. The selection was made on assessments of which schools had a bigger number of dropouts due to pregnancy. We actually need to expand on this to cover many schools,” she said.

The UNFPA assisted in the drawing up of the syllabus being used in schools for guidance and counseling.

Moyo said under the upcoming Heritage-based curriculum, guidance and counseling will continue to be implemented as a social science subject.

“We are advocating for Guidance and Counseling to be taught and under the new Heritage-based curriculum, it comes under social sciences,” she said.

According to data from the National Assessment of adolescent pregnancies in Zimbabwe, 21 percent of all antenatal clinic bookings made between 2019 and 2022 were young girls aged between 10 to 19 years.

Nokuthula Sibanda, the acting headmaster of Mawaba Primary School in Bulawayo’s Lobengula suburb, which is implementing the Guidance and Counseling model, said the program has changed learner’s behavior.

New Ziana

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