By Nyima Bah
The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education in partnership with the International Development Research Center (IDRC), ended a five-day training on strengthening access to quality and Comprehensive Health Education, CHE, in The Gambia.
The training was held on Wednesday at the Regional Directorate for Region 1.
The objective for the project is to build understanding of the underlying factors that affect the implementation of comprehensive health education for adolescents in and out of school in The Gambia, aiming to bring back sex education in schools.
Phebian Ina Grante-Sagnia, the co-principal investigator of CHE project, disclosed some of the thematic areas that participants were trained on. She said the training will help participants in their subsequent work as data collectors before getting into the implementation process, which she said will last for five years.
“A survey will be conducted within 43 selected schools, both public and private secondary schools in western region1 of Kanifing Municipality to know how effective sexual education is in our schools,” she said.
She also added that, after the survey, a research team will conduct focus group discussions with 40 out- of – school adolescents between the age of 15 – 19, educate them on the importance of sex education and engage other stakeholders.
Fatou Dally Bittaye, Principal Education Officer at the curriculum directorate, and the coordinator of the comprehensive sexual education program, said sex education is seen as a taboo in many African countries, including the Gambia, people tend to shy away whenever the topic is put forward. She further explained that the initiative will help strengthen government’s efforts in implementing sex education in schools.
She said the approach they are taking in educating the children about health education is by integrating Comprehensive Health Education to various subjects.
Sannaba Jawla, a participant, explained that the training will have impact on his subsequent work, saying this will serve as an opportunity to widen his knowledge and experience in building capacity on research work, also a guide in the data collection process.