Children need CSE to value population as a resource – Dr Appiah

Accra Dr Leticia Adelaide Appiah, the Executive Director of the National Population Council, has called on teachers to give pupils and students, knowledge on the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to enable them to value population as a resource.

She said population, even though, had not been given much attention, it was an important resource, adding that, the healthier a population was, the more likely it was to promote national development.

A lot of people don’t know about population and how it leads to development, so if at 10 years, children are educated to know that population is a resource, and a healthy population is a productive population, it would help them to make informed choices when they grow up, she said.

Dr Appiah, who gave the advice in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, explained that the fewer the number of children, the easier it was for parents to cater for them and the fewer a population, the easier it is for a government to meet their needs.

Therefore, giving children CSE would guide them to make right decisions in their marital, educational and social lives, she added.

Dr Appiah defined Comprehensive Sexuality Education as a systematic approach to equip young people with skills, knowledge, right attitude and values to make informed and right decisions about their sexuality while they grow up.

She said the CSE was age appropriate and had been well designed for teachers to use for children right from the beginning of basic school to Senior High School.

CSE, she said, was not only about sexual relations, but included values such as respect for gender differences, developing interpersonal skills, and knowing when relationships are being abusive or congenial.

The Executive Director said it was unfortunate how people were in abusive relationships but did not recognise it or paid no attention to it because of the little monetary support they got from their partners.

Giving the children such education, she said, would enable them to fight for their rights when they grow up.

She mentioned oral hygiene and personal hygiene, reflecting on one’s attitudes, recognising what is fair and not, human growth and development life cycle, puberty, seeking healthcare, marriage and family life, population of Ghana, fertility and pregnancy, respecting gender differences and human rights as some of the modules children would be taught in school.

Dr Appiah said it was important to inculcate in children the habit of respecting each other’s gender difference.

Because you can get a group of boys who think being a boy just means getting a girl somewhere and raping her. This is wrong and shows that the boy is weak. A strong boy is not the one who abuses girls, but rather, the one who protects them, she said.

Responding to the school of thought that, educating children and teenagers on comprehensive sexuality education rather exposed them to the act, the Executive Director said abstinence was supposed to be the primary focus of the education.

However, it was necessary to educate the children on the reproductive sexual health rights to make them cautious, adding: We need to let them know that even though the ultimate decision is theirs, they would bear the consequences, which would also have a negative impact on their families and the entire nation.

Dr Appiah said even though adolescents had to be educated on the use of contraceptives, they should know that having many sexual partners could predispose them to cervical cancer as they grew.

It is very necessary to let the children know about the physical, moral, spiritual consequences of engaging in pre-marital sex as well as the advantages of abstinence so that they could make right decisions.

When something is kept from people, it is what makes them want to know more. It is better to let people know that, the choices you make are yours but you cannot determine the consequences, she added.

Source: Ghana News Agency