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Inter-religious council ready to support sexuality education

By Vivian Agaba

Added 29th November 2018 04:56 PM

Sheikh Waiswa said they were happy Ministry of Education and Sports responded positively and engaged with various stakeholders including individual religious groups in dialogues consulting them on what they thought about the thorny issue when it cropped up in 2016.

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Otuke Woman MP Silvia Akello interacting with State Minister for Primary Education Rosemary Seninde during the National Dialogue on the National Sexuality Education Framework (NSEF). This was at Imperial Royale recently. (Photo by Vivian Agaba).

Sheikh Waiswa said they were happy Ministry of Education and Sports responded positively and engaged with various stakeholders including individual religious groups in dialogues consulting them on what they thought about the thorny issue when it cropped up in 2016.

SEX EDUCATION

The second deputy Mufti and the executive member of the Inter-religious Council of Uganda (IRCU), Sheikh Muhammad Ali Waiswa has said the group is ready to give total support to the ministry of education to implement the sexuality education framework in schools as long their inputs are considered in the final document and are allowed to look at the final texture.

He said this during a dialogue on the National Sexuality education framework held at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala  recently.

Sheikh Waiswa said they were happy Ministry of Education and Sports responded positively and engaged with various stakeholders including individual religious groups in dialogues consulting them on what they thought about the thorny issue when it cropped up in 2016.

He pointed out that as Uganda faces challenges such as high HIV rates, high levels of teenage pregnancy and early marriages, it is important that every stakeholder is consulted to reach amiable agreement. 

“We need to put better strategies in place to address these issues without compromising our national values and protecting them,” he said

 

Some of the members of Parliament that attended the dialogue on-national sexuality education framework in Kampala recently. (Photo by Vivian Agaba)     

 Adding: “We shall offer our total support as long as our inputs are included in the final texture. We also need to look at the final document, scrutinise each and everything to be certain no ‘foreign’ aspect is included in it,” he added

 The dialogue organIsed by Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) was attended by legislators, policy makers, and technical people from different line ministries, civil society organisations, lawyers among others. 

It was under the theme: “The roles and responsibilities of legislators and other stakeholders for effective implementation of the framework.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding sexuality education in Uganda over the last two years. For instance in September, 2016, Parliament passed a resolution directing the ministry to halt the teaching of comprehensive sexuality education in schools until a policy is developed.

Last week, the First Lady and minister of education and sports, Janet Museveni while meeting the United Nations Resident Coordinator and resident representative United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Rosa Malango at State House in Nakasero, Mrs. Museveni asked her to support the ministry as it plans to launch the sexuality education programme early next month.

The ministry’s national sexuality education framework document of 2018 defines sexuality education as life long process of acquiring information and forming attitudes, beliefs and values about vital issues such as sexual development, reproductive health, and interpersonal relationships among others.

 It addresses the social-cultural, biological, psychological and developing communication skills, decision-making, and critical-thinking skills in accordance with the laws and policies of Uganda.

Otuke district Woman MP Silvia Akello said many young people are accessing wrong information, are watching pornography through social media, and therefore no running away from the truth, something ought to be done.

Giving key developments about the framework since it was launched in May this year, Rosemary Seninde; the state minister for primary education said the ministry has printed 2000 copies to give to key stake holders.

We do not want people to begin talking about things when not aware what the actual content is,” she said

She added that the ministry has also issued a circular to all partners reminding them that they should await the finalisation of the implementation plan, development of appropriate syllabi content and materials, sensitisation and training of the implementers before conducting sexuality related programmes.        “I want to assure you, we are not going to implement the training of the teaching before all these things are properly put in place ,” she vowed.

The framework has been developed based on some fundamental principles including; fear of God, parental role in child upbringing, age appropriateness, risk avoidance rehabilitation of learners, and the essential role of parents and family in delivery of sexuality education.

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