Mr Carl Ampah of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has blamed inadequate sex education of the youth for the increasing number of teenage pregnancies and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections.
He said the failure to prepare young people for their sexual life exposes them to coercion, abuse, exploitation, unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STI) including HIV.
Mr Ampah said in a situation where ignorance and misinformation becomes life-threatening, teachers in the classroom have a responsibility to act in partnership with parents and communities to ensure the protection and wellbeing of children and young people.
He was speaking at the formal opening of a five-day workshop for the redesigning of the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) Manual for the Plant Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG), in Koforidua.
He indicated that while it was not realistic for education programs alone to eliminate the risk of HIV and other STIs, unintended pregnancy, coercion or abusive sexual activity and exploitation, properly designed and implemented programmes could reduce some of the risks underlying the vulnerabilities.
Mr Ampah called for the involvement of parents in the implementation of such programs to enable them to appreciate the content of what their children are being taught and also to equip them with skills to communicate more openly and honestly about sex with their children.
Dr Catherin Dawson-Amoah, Executive Director of PPAG, explained that her organization had to initiate a process to review its existing manual because recent assessment of the manual indicated that it was outdated with a lot of issues not in conformity with current reproductive health rights and needs and aspirations of young people.
She said recent reports of high rate of teenage pregnancies, early marriages, unmet needs for contraceptives and family planning and incidence of STI’s, were clear indications that the country needs a comprehensive sexual education for young people, especially those out of school.
Dr Dawson-Amoah said it was in recognition of the challenges faced by the youth regarding their sexual lives that PPAG placed strong emphasis on CSE, as an essential intervention to ensure that they were made aware of their sexual and reproductive rights and also empowered to make choices from well informed positions.