Validation of Comprehensive Sexuality Education Curriculum Framework underway

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, in collaboration with UNFPA yesterday organized a validation workshop of the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) Curriculum Framework, at the Regional Education Office 1 Complex Kanifing.

One of the objectives of the Framework is to provide a solid basis for children and youth to attain basic knowledge, skills and attitudes in relation to their sexuality, gender, health and reproductive right.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Director of Population Affairs, Saikou J.K. Trawally, said that the validation of the CSE curriculum framework would further strengthen government’s stance on empowering the young people by giving them the requisite information, skills and services to foster a more meaningful livelihood.

“It is in this light that The Gambia government has abundantly expressed in its various development policies and programs, the willingness to uphold the right of adolescents and youth to access SRT information and services,” he disclosed.

Mr Trawally added that the numerous efforts made in the past by the government and partners to help young people understand their sexuality, make informed decision and choice, were challenged with a lot of opposition mainly from the orthodoxy.

Comprehensive sexuality education programs, according to him, are generally premised on the idea that young people have the right to be informed about their sexuality to make responsible decisions about their sexual and reproductive health and have self esteem.

Also speaking at the opening ceremony, Mabingue Ngom, UNFPA Regional Director for West and Central Africa, said that the education sector of The Gambia continues to face challenges related to girl’s performance and retention in school partly due to early pregnancies.

He added that statistics have shown that teenage pregnancy was a major health concern because of its association with high morbidity and mortality for both mothers and children.

“In The Gambia, 18% of young women aged 15-19 years have begun childbearing,” he said, adding that this situation was very critical comparing The Gambia situation with other countries such as Cote d’Ivoire (13%), Ghana and Senegal (10%), France (1.5) and Japan (0.5).

In recognition of government’s commitment to the sexual and reproductive health of the young people, Mr Ngom revealed that UNFPA has agreed to support the process of putting in place effective mechanisms in schools of all categories for enhancing a comprehensive sexuality education program.

He disclosed that UNFPA engagements in this venture began in June 2017 when an international consultant was hired by the agency to work with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education to develop a Comprehensive Sexuality Education program.

For her part, the Minister of Basic and Secondary Education, Claudiana Cole, said that the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education agreed with the view of providing youths with the requisite knowledge and skills to enable them become successful.

 “I am fully aware that the Comprehensive Sexuality Education Curriculum Framework that is about to be validated in the next two days has attempted to provide a solid foundation for children and youth to acquire the relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes to address these challenges,” she said.

She elaborated that in keeping with the government’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), their new policy accords priority to Life Skills Education provided in the CSE curriculum.

She thanked their partners, the National Population Commission, UNFPA and other collaborating partners for their laudable support.

Author: Fatou B. Cham