Perception of Female Students Towards Sex Education in Nigeria

Perception of Female Students Towards Sex Education in Nigeria


This study focuses on the perception of female students towards sex education in the University of Calabar, Calabar, Cross River State”. The variable such as sex, sexually transmitted disease, contraceptives, indecent exposures, Abstinence was discussed. A total number of 200 respondents were randomly selected in these six departments (Human kinetics and Health Education, Science Education, Psychology, law, microbiology and Biochemistry) of the University of Calabar. The questionnaire was used as a major instrument in the study, four hypotheses were formulated in the study and the method used for data was simple percentage (%) for a clear presentation of section A and comparison of data while chi-square (X2) was used to test the hypothesis at alpha 0.05 level of significance.

The study revealed that the Female Students in the University of Calabar are aware of sex education, that they have knowledge of sex education and of course they have a good attitude towards sex education, they also have a positive practice of sex Education. It was therefore recommended that the University of Calabar should introduce sex Education to all levels in different faculties in the school and it should be made compulsory.



1.1 Background of the Study

The concept of sex education and its introduction in junior secondary schools has witnessed much controversy and misconceptions by many teachers, parents, society and students. The concept of sex education which is sometimes called sexuality education or sex and relationship education attracts a plethora of definitions from different people. According to Frimpong (2010), sex education is “the systematic attempt to promote the health awareness in the individual on matters of his/her sexual development, functioning, behaviour and attitudes through direct teaching”. Similarly, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) in Njoku (2008), sees sex education as “a planned process of education that fosters the acquisition of factual information, the formation of positive attitudes, beliefs and values as well as the development of skills to cope with the biological, psychological, socio-cultural, and spiritual aspects of human sexuality.

From these definitions, it can be deduced that sex education is deliberate, planned and organized learning experience in the aspect of human sexuality which is intended to equip young people with the requisite skills and adequate knowledge which will enable them to develop positive attitude on sex-related issues as well as to make rational decisions in line with societal expectations. It is important to note that sex education was not just incorporated into social studies for knowledge acquisition but to help young people develop attitudes, values, goals and practices that are based on sound knowledge which will enable them to express their sexual and mating impulses in a manner that is socially and ethically acceptable as well as personally satisfying (Abdu 2006 and Okafor in Bozimo and Ikwumelu, 1999). The concept of sex education in Nigerian schools is not new in Nigeria. Adepoju (2005) and Abdu (2006) postulated that the traditional form of sex education and family life education has been in existence where kinship systems, age grade and coming–of–age ceremonies or initiation ceremonies where the youths were tutored about manhood and womanhood. It was purely biological and cultural, while various methods of contraceptives were just kept in the domain of married people and kept secret. Many young people were kept in the dark as they did not have an opportunity to be properly educated on family life and sex education because their training was on “dos and don’ts”. Traditionally, sex education was to be given to every child and adolescents by his/her immediate family but these practice has been eroded by the influence of modernization, western civilization, and collapsing family life; thereby leaving the young ones at the mercy of the wider society and other socializing agents who may not give accurate information that can assist the young ones in their transition to adulthood. This vacuum in the life of adolescents is what the school needed to fill through the teaching of sex education in social studies. The recognition of the above gap, as well as the risk in adolescents reproductive health who are prone to unplanned sex, unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, sexual coercion, sexual violence, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and even Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) owing to lack of information or misinformation about the implications of their reproductive behaviour and health risks especially from under-age sexual practices and other anti-social practices, prompted the Federal government of Nigeria through the National Council on Education (NCE) to incorporate sexuality education into the national school curriculum in 1999 (Onwuzobe and Ekanem, 2009). This became necessary to prepare adolescents for their adult roles in line with the acceptable societal standard and to also empower young people to have greater control over their sexuality and reproductive life to their own benefit both socially and economically. It is also a means of safeguarding or protecting the youths against the consequences of sexual ignorance as well as preparing them for responsible life (Njoku, 2008). Since the family which is the primary agent of socialization where sex education ought to be taught seems not to help the adolescents in this regard, as issues that have to do with sexuality is oftentimes not discussed with them, owing to the belief that keeping them in perpetual ignorance about their sexuality will prevent them from immoral behaviour (Abdu, 2006), many adolescents have resorted to confiding in their friends and school mates who often mislead them knowingly or unknowingly (Udemezue, 2011). Apart from their friends, they also source information from the internet, television, pornographic films and materials which often mislead them and cause more havoc and confusion. In Nigeria, many studies have been conducted since the introduction of family life and sex education into the school curriculum to ascertain its acceptability and people’s perception of it.

Given the foregoing, this study sought to assess the perception of female students towards sex education in Nigeria. And also, to define sex education; explained the rationale for the introduction of sex education by students and in the school system.

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