Clergy under their umbrella organisation, The Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC) have vowed never to let the new approved sex education curriculum be introduced and taught in their Christian founded schools until it is revised again by government.
The Ministry of education earlier this month welcomed and approved a new National Sexuality Education Framework (NSEF) that was drafted to give guidelines to schools on how to impart content that has sexual information and life skills in pupils of various age brackets.
The policy document was said to be sensitive to all social aspects and age appropriate therefore, “it was not bound to attract opposition from religious, cultural and political institutions because it had been drafted over a period of two years, through consultations with all relevant stakeholders.”
However, Clergy led by John Baptist Odama, the Archbishop of Gulu urge that despite a team of their experts having contributed and made suggestions to developing the policy, in the final edition of the document, their views were, “substantially ignored.”
“Contrary to what many people think, the Church is in favour of a positive, age appropriate, culturally and religious sex education which upholds moral and Christian values because this task is a shared responsibility of the family, church and state through schools but unfortunately, in the published edition of the document, the contributions of the catholic experts have been substantially ignored,” read part of the UEC statement signed by the chairperson, John Baptist Odama.
Bishop Odama added that while the NSEF contains some valid ideas and guidelines, it fails to answer some crucial questions such as the vital role of the family especially in the early ages and why children in the early years between 3 to 5 and those in lower primary (P1 to P4) are exposed to content and life skills which are not appropriate for their ages.
The other issues raised against the framework include: information and life skills foreseen for the higher levels that are deemed open to interpretation and practices which may be contrary to moral Christian values and that there are no provisions or guaranties that school teachers are prepared and able to teach in a balanced and proper way, such as delicate and emotionally charged topics.
Odama said in the event that the NSEF remains unchanged with provisions and directives that are contrary to Christine values, “the common position of the Catholic Church, shared by our brothers of the Church of Uganda and the Orthodox Church in the recent Uganda Joint Christian Council meeting in June, is that we shall not be able in conscience to have it (NSEF) introduced and taught in our Christian founded schools.”