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1.1 Background to the study
The applicability of sexuality education in elementary school is still a debatable issue in the perspective of societies where Muslims are the majority. Although the Qur’an has placed so much emphasis on acquiring knowledge, and in the days of Prophet Muhammad Muslim men and women were never too shy to ask him questions including those related to private affairs such as sexual life, for Muslim parents of today, sex is a taboo subject(Athar, 1996).
Brought up in a cultural environment which regards children’s knowledge on sexuality as harmful, many Muslim parents today are in dilemma on whether or not sex education should be discussed at home and at school. However, in this era of sweeping social change, children do not need parents and school to educate them about sexuality
Health, according to the World Health Organization (WHO, 1991) is the state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Health education is an activity aimed at improving health related knowledge, attitude and behaviour. It is used in schools to help students/pupils make intelligent decision about health related issues. There are many ways to teach health in schools; usually instructors create and facilitate learning experiences that develop the students’ decision making skills.
Above all, teachers provide health information and a concern for factors that influence the quality of life, an example of which is the teaching of sex education in schools (Dubos, 1968). However, these youths sometimes put at risk their health by indulging in behaviours with serious short and long term consequences, including sudden death. There is significant morbidity rate and other social problems which could have been handled by the parents and schools if sex education teaching had been encouraged and effectively used. The neglect and/or inadequate teaching of this significant aspect of the education of the child and the attendant behaviours culminate into incidence of HIV, other sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancy, AIDS and sometimes actions related to homicides, suicides and other unpleasant health related problems (Collins, 2002 & Robin, 2002).
Sex education, broadly defined, therefore could mean any instruction in the processes and consequences of sexual activity, ordinarily given to children and adolescents (Microsoft Corporation, 1998 – 2003). Today the term usually refers to classroom lessons about sex taught in primary and secondary schools, usually as part of the biology class. Historically, the task of educating adolescents about sex has been seen as the responsibility of parents. However, parent – child communication in sexual matters may be hindered by parental inhibitions or by various inter-generation tensions. Some studies have shown that children rarely receive adequate information on sexual matters from their parents (Microsoft Corporation, 2003). Consequent upon this, the schools have taken the responsibility of giving the children first hand information about sex so as to equip them adequately on how to relate with other children of the opposite sex, processes of human reproduction, the workings of male and female sex organs, the origin, spread and the effects of sexually transmitted infections as well as family roles and structures
Regarding issue of the parental involvement in deciding what courses should their children be taught and at what level, Adler (1993) affirms that parents have the legitimacy of choosing what subjects to be included in the school curriculum. Spodek, Saracho, & Davis (1991) correctly affirm that “whether or not sex education is included as part of the curriculum may depend on the value orientation of the parents” (p.68).
In their study of parents’ attitudes towards sex education in school, McKay, Pietrusiak,&Holowaty(1998)foundthat “strong majority” of Canadian parents (95%)approved that sexuality education should be provided in school; while the majority of them(82%) are in favor of school-based sexual health education that begins in the elementary level. Ballantine (1997) asserts that the transmission of specific content such as sex education has been the subject of controversy in many communities because questions of responsibility and control of knowledge by family or education systems enter in
It is against this background that this study assesses the attitude of parents towards the teaching of sex education in secondary schools in
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Sex education is vital to any civilized society no matter the class and people of that society. The benefit of sex education is unquantifiable because the knowledge gained will contribute towards reducing significantly or eradicating completely the spread of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and similar deadly sexually transmitted infections. Though advances have been made in medical sciences including technological breakthroughs in some instances, the deadly disease has confined to ravage the whole world now more than before. The role that the teaching of sex education could play in schools should not be overlooked.
It is perhaps in realization of this that school, health related agencies, non-governmental organizations and development partners have been making efforts to educate people particularly the youths about the ravaging effects and consequences of the dreaded sexually transmitted infections of gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). However, despite the concerted efforts made by these various bodies, (W.H.O., UNICEF, WARAPA., etc)
In spite of this concerted effort by individuals, international and national organization in health related areas to arrest this ugly situation vices related to sexual behaviours are still common among secondary school students. As this is not expected to be so, people begin to wonder what type of sex education these children are having. Whether or not parents are alive to their responsibility which may be why the problem associated with children sexual behaviour continued unabated becomes the problem of the present study to the extent that the present study is predicated on what the attitude of the parents is to what the teaching of sex education is in secondary schools.
1.3 Research Questions
1. What is the attitude of parents towards the teaching of sex education in secondary schools in secondary schools in Kaduna State?
2. What is the attitude of parents of different age groups towards the teaching of sex education in secondary schools in Kaduna State?
3. What is the attitude of parents in urban and rural areas towards the teaching of sex education in secondary schools in Kaduna State?
4. What is the attitude of parents of various marital status towards the teaching of sex education in secondary schools in Kaduna State?
1.4 Basic Assumptions
On the basis of the research questions and the hypotheses, the following assumptions are made in this study.
1. Lack of adequate teaching of sex education can be dangerous to the youth.
2. Cultural taboo is an inhibiting factor in the teaching of sex education of the youths.
3. Appropriate and adequate sex education of youths would
contribute to the prevention of sex related problems in children.
4. Parental attitude is a deciding factor in success of any sex
education efforts in schools.
In this research study, the following null hypotheses are hereby formulated to test the item used to collect data as well as make inference at the end of the study.
There is no significant difference among parents in their attitude towards the teaching of sex education in secondary schools in Kaduna
1. There is no significant difference in the attitude of male and female parents towards the teaching of sex education in secondary schools in Kaduna State.
2. There is no significant difference in the attitude of parents of different age groups toward the teaching of sex education in secondary schools in Kaduna State.
3. There is no significant difference between parents in urban and rural areas in their attitude towards the teaching of sex education in secondary schools in Kaduna State.
4. There is no significant difference in the attitude of parents of various marital statuses towards the teaching of sex education in secondary schools in Kaduna State.
1.6 Purpose of the Study
The purposes of the study are as follows:
1. To assess the attitude of parents towards the teaching of sex education in secondary schools in Kaduna State.
2. To determine whether there is a difference in opinions between male and female parents towards the teaching of sex education in secondary schools in Kaduna State.
3. To identify factors that are responsible for attitudinal differences between parents towards the teaching of sex education in secondary schools in Kaduna State.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The research study is focused on assessment of parental attitude towards the teaching of sex education in secondary schools. Expectedly the outcome of this study will be significant in the following respects:
1. Create awareness for parents in understanding that negative attitude towards the teaching of sex education are neither government nor society friendly.
2. Expose the parents to the reality that, they are partners in progress with the teachers, the school and the society at large in the effort to avert and completely curb the menace of sexual abuse, and
sexually related diseases in the society.
3. Provide understanding about the complexities involved in the teaching of sex education, thereby contributing towards the designing of an effective curriculum to suit the teaching of sex education.
4. To encourage non governmental organizations to participate in the education of the youth in the area of sex education in secondary schools.
5. Encourage schools, and other health related agencies to intensify efforts towards the teaching of sex education in secondary schools.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
The study was delimited to parents’ attitude towards the teaching of sex education in secondary schools in Kaduna State. Only secondary schools in Kaduna State were represented by 115 selected secondary schools in the three senatorial zones of Kaduna State. Only parents who have children in secondary schools were used in this study.
1.9 Limitation of the Study
Issues of sex and sexuality are considered confidential by many people which made the respondents unwilling to fill the questionnaire. To overcome this limitation, the respondents were reassured that their responses would be treated confidentially. Also, respondents were not asked their names nor the names of their children/wards.
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