Catholic Bishops demand removal of reproductive health strand in grade 7 books

Catholic bishops education

The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, Commission for Education and Religious Education Department has raised concern over the introduction of sex education in Junior Secondary Schools.

They claim it is a violation of the Ministry of Education policy against the exposure of children to explicit content.

The Bishops who pointed out explicit sex education content in Grade 7 textbooks, which they say advocates the use of family planning methods instead of teaching the young learners about abstinence, want the reproductive strand removed.

The clergy issued a statement during the Catholic Schools Principals’ Association Kenya (CaSPA-K) 8th Edition Conference at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) on Tuesday.

They said Health Education textbooks by two top publishers were encouraging the use of contraception.

KCCB’s Commission for Education and Religious Education chairperson Bishop Paul Kariuki Njiru said sex education not only sexualizes the learning environment for minors but will also be the major contributor to the high rates of teenage pregnancies and abortion.

“Looking at the Grade 7 Learner’s book titled “Top Scholar Health Education” by the Kenya Literature Bureau under Strand 7 on Human Reproductive Health, sub-strand 7.2 on Reproductive Health on page 127 and Grade 7 Teacher’s Guide titled “Health Education in Action” by Oxford University Press under Strand 7 on Human Reproductive Health, sub-strand 7.2 on Reproductive Health on page 153 have created room for introduction of family planning and encouragement of the use of contraception to very young learners,” Bishop Kariuki said.

Bishop Mark Kadima noted that the introduction of Comprehensive Sex Education defies the narrative sold to Kenyans that the Competency-Based Curriculum is based on values and that any education given would be age appropriate.

The Bishops pointed out that the promotion of family planning at the basic education level could lead to teenage pregnancies and a surge in abortion among teenagers in the country leading to school dropout.

KCCB challenged the Ministry of Education to seek parents’ consent prior to introducing sensitive content such as reproductive health to learners.

The bishops urged catholic schools’ principals from around the country who are attending the three days conference to continue promoting the right moral values to learners and challenged the government to seek parents’ consent before introducing sensitive content such as reproductive health in schools.

The conference theme for this year is, “Catholic Schools: Hubs of Moral Values and Faith Formation for the Whole School Community in Respect for Human Dignity.”

By Obegi Malack

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