AN ASSESSMENT ON THE IMPACT OF SEX EDUCATION AMONG YOUTHS IN NIGERIAN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Background to the Study
Adolescence is the period in life of an individual between childhood and adulthood. The word adolescence is derived from a Latin word “adolescere” meaning “to grow” Adolescents are neither a child nor an adult between the age range of 10 – 19 years (WHO, 2009). Such a person normally experiences various physical and psychological changes and challenges including those relating to sexuality. The adolescent, therefore needs to be appropriately informed on issues relating to sex through relevant educational opportunities. Such sex educational competencies can be provided through Home Economics education that should be able to equip adolescents with competencies (knowledge, skills and attitudes) in sex education to handle challenges relating to sexuality and be able to develop their potentials to the fullest. Adolescence encompasses different stages of physical, sex and mental development of an individual and is bewildered with varied stresses which result from distinct developmental changes in life (Burt, 2010).
Adolescents is a male or female that go through developmental transition from childhood to adulthood and it involves a number of biological, cognitive and socio emotional changes. Biological changes involve physical changes in the body, growth spurt, hormonal changes and sexual maturation that come with puberty. Cognitive changes involve individual thinking and intelligence that increases in abstract, idealistic and logical thinking. Socio emotional changes involve individual emotions, personality and relationship with others (Santrock, 2004). Adolescents equally have intellectual, social, physical, emotion, and moral characteristics. Briefly, these characteristics range from modeling behaviour, restlessness, mood swing to storm and stress. They are often characterized by their youthful exuberance and penchant for experimentation especially with sex (Moore, 1993).
Sex is an important terminology in biology and psychology and it is referred to as identity and activity. By identity, it is the anatomical structure of sexual organs associated with certain physiological operations that makes an individual to be identified as male or female. By activity, it involves caressing and sexual intercourse (Sandler, 1980).This is body chemistry and it is what they (adolescents) take as love. It is also involved the location of the adolescent where he/she is residing urban or rural area and those they interact with especially with sex.
Sex education is the education that is filled with worthwhile knowledge concerning sexual behaviours and values that enables adolescents to control their sexual need. It can also be defined as all forms of instructions that deals effectively with adolescent challenges and social relationships directly or indirectly associated with sex (Anyaegbunam, 2003). The author agreed with the report of United Nation (UN) General Assembly (2001) which stated that sex education is the education that develops the skill of young people in making informed choices about their behaviour and feels competent on acting on those choices. Sex education therefore is the knowledge, skill and attitude relating to sex and sexuality that enables adolescents deal with their sex challenges. It is also the educational measures that centers on sex which stand for protection, presentation, improvement and development of an individual (Burt, 2012).
Sex education for adolescents is the process of inculcating knowledge, attitude and skills required to cope with adolescent sex challenges. It involves knowledge, attitude and skill that help to promote and affect positive behaviour change in adolescent. The major aim of sex education is to promote proper development of personality and sexual well being. It also develops in adolescents the desired skill necessary to enhance interactive learning task so that communication, negotiation and listening skills can be developed and practiced (Mario, 2011). It is widely accepted that adolescents have a right to sex education because it is a means by which they are helped to protect themselves against exploitation, unintended pregnancy, STDs, HIV & AIDS. Adolescents faces challenges posed by body and emotional changes, relationships with the opposite sex and ignorance of the dangers inherent in their sexual act such as teenage pregnancy, abortion, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), Human Immune deficiency Virus (HIV), Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Challenges are difficult task that test someone ability and skill and many adolescent sees challenges as a problem, some of the challenges includes adjusting to the altered appearances, functioning of the maturing body, learning to deal with sexual desires, confronting sexual attitudes and values, experimenting with sexual behaviours and integrating these feelings, attitudes and experiences into a developing sense of adulthood (Moore, 1993).
Skill is the ability coming from ones knowledge, practice, and aptitude to do something well. It is a potential acquired by individual through training which is meant to ensure proficiency and competency in the performance (Nnachi, 2008). Skill develops in an individual a positive social behaviour such as self discipline, good judgment and ability to get along with others and this skill can be gotten in large extent through sex education needs.
Need is a process for determining and addressing gaps between current conditions and desired condition or wants of an individual (Shafloot, 2011). It is also the discrepancy between the current conditions and wanted condition which must be measured to appropriately identify the problems of adolescents which could be a desire to improve current performance to correct a deficiency (Burke, 2005). Need is what one requires in order to meet a target standard Chutta (1992). Olaitan, Nwachukwu, Igbo, Onyemauche and Ekong (1999) explained that need is a requirement deemed necessary for effectiveness. In the context of this study, Need is the sex education knowledge, attitudes and skills adolescent required for social and moral living. It is also necessary to include sex education to upper basic curriculum particularly to catch them young and also to appropriately guide them on their needs through teaching and learning (Nnachi, 2008).
It is therefore important to organize a formal instruction on sex to adolescents in junior secondary school that will guide and mentally prepare them for adulthood roles and equally prevent them from dangers of negative sexual behaviours (Barbara Hasting 2013). Organizing formal instruction involves identifying different areas of need while teaching the components of sex education as thus – sex roles, pre-marital sex and teenage pregnancy, social relationship, personal identity, emotional development, sex drive or sexual feelings in childhood adolescence sense, social aspects, conception, pregnancy and births, physical, emotional and psychological changes during puberty, gender roles, STD (Jateline, 2011) and proper ways of teaching sex education to adolescents which are discussion, lecture, role-play, counseling methods and other methods (MacAuthor, 2003) in order to get them properly informed and it is necessary and beneficial for society as a whole to have an informed population about sex and sexuality, ignoring STIs, STDS, HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy won’t make sex related challenges to go away, even if it’s taught from a biology perspective and not a morality perspective, it will still be beneficial. Adolescent are tricked into making bad decisions simply because of ignorance.
This work identified the sex related challenges of adolescents as it relates to their; body changes, emotional challenges, challenges from their relationship with the opposite sex, knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to cope with the above named challenges and areas of sex education needs of adolescents in the junior secondary school of Anambra state. In schools of Anambra state, there are six educational zones which include Aguata, Awka, Nnewi, Ogidi, Onitsha, and Otuocha zones. But Onitsha harbours the highest market in West Africa called the Main Market, Awka is the state capital and Nnewi is also a big city which causes migrants from other zones, people from different part of the country and characters to fill the state. There are cases of sexual harassment, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, sexual immorality like rape, homosexuals, hence the sex education needs of adolescents that aimed at reducing the risk of potential negative outcomes of adolescence sex practices.