‘Virginity is a virtue: prevent early sex’: teacher perceptions of sex education in a Ugandan secondary school

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Iyer, Padmini ; Aggleton, Peter (2014)

Sex education is a politically contentious issue in many countries, and there are numerous, competing ideologies relating to the most appropriate methods to teach young people about sexual and reproductive health. This paper examines policy and practice in Uganda in light of two contrasting ideologies, namely morally conservative and comprehensive rights-based approaches to sex education. After a brief description of these approaches, findings from a preliminary qualitative study among teachers working in a non-governmental organisation-run secondary school in Uganda are discussed. Teachers’ responses are analysed against the background of current Ugandan sex education policies. The paper considers the implications of the conservative morality informing both Ugandan government policy and teachers’ implementation of sex education at the focus school. It is argued that, in the light of young Ugandans’ attitudes towards and often varied experiences of sexuality, a comprehensive rights-based approach to sex education may be more appropriate in the described setting.
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