Ebonyi Commissioner Charges Workshop To Develop Manual For Family Life Health Education In Schools

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Participants at a three-day stakeholders workshop in Abakiliki have been charged to develop sustainable life skills information communication manual that will guide facilitators in teaching quality life skill lessons for the benefit of all, especially the girl-child.

The Commissioner for Education in Ebonyi, Dr Onyebuchi Chima, gave the charge on Wednesday, while declaring open the workshop to develop manual for Family Life Health Education/Life Skills Information, Education and Communications for the state.

Chima also urged the stakeholders to develop an easy-to-read family life health education pamphlets for distribution during outreaches.

He urged them not to focus attention only on issues relating to sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV, in setting agenda for the discourse.

He charged them to extend their discussion to issues of female genital mutilation and other practices that affect the sexuality and reproductive health of the women and girl-child.

“I believe that when you form your agenda, you should not focus only on HIV.

“There are other problems associated with all kinds of sexual violence against children both at primary and Secondary schools level.

“There are issues of rape, forced marriages and sexual consents obtained as a result of undue influences from their headmasters or headmistresses.

“Your agenda should be able to take cognisance of these sexual abuses and make them part of the contents of the information, education and communication manual,” Chima said.

He said that the Federal Ministry of Education had developed a curriculum on sexuality education that is taught as a subject in both primary and secondary schools in the state.

The commissioner therefore urged participants to develop an agenda that would not be in isolation from Federal Government’s curriculum already operational in the state.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that participants were drawn from key ministries and agencies, including Education, Budget and Planning , Women Affairs, State Agency for Mass Education, National Human Rights Commission, Universal Basic Education Commission and Civil Society Organisations.

The workshop was facilitated by a non governmental organisation, called “Education Today For Sustainable Development Initiative” (ETDI), with global support from United Nations and the European Union.

ETDI is committed to promoting non-formal education, especially for women and girl-child, who could not pass through the formal education or dropped out of school due to early marriage and early pregnancy, among others.

Earlier, Mrs Stella Nwagu, the Director-General of the State Agency for Mass Education, said that the development of the family life health education materials would strenghten mass literacy campaign in the state.

“The document will be very effective in the mass literacy development in our state. We know where we are coming from and Ebonyi is still rated least in South-East in terms of literacy.

“Our people are still educationally backward.

“Once many of us can read and write their names, they will say they are literate but going down the line you will discover that they are still novices, they don’t know what they are doing.

“So, we need to develop this document to assist us to know what we want to teach them, know what they want to learn and how to help them in their various life areas and life skills,” Nwagu said.

Meanwhile, Mr Murrice Ogbe, the Programme Manager, SpotLight Initiative, ETDI, said that the workshop was designed to develop agenda for family life, HIV information, education and communication materials for distribution during outreaches.

He said that the document would serve as a teaching and learning tool for both the facilitators and learners.

“Family life and HIV education is a curriculum that has not gained much ground in the state and we want to accelarate that move to achieve the essence of the curriculum in the state,” Ogbe said.


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