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Sexuality education in Uganda

Teachers’ reasoning in a 'morally upright' context
PhD ceremony:dr. B. (Billie) de Haas
When:December 14, 2017
Supervisor:prof. dr. I. Hutter
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Spatial Sciences
Sexuality education in Uganda

The HIV epidemic and a high number of teenage pregnancies underscore the importance of sexuality education in Uganda. However, teachers often face difficulties in teaching sexuality education, especially when the contents conflict with cultural and religious values and beliefs. In addition, the Ugandan government has recently prohibited the provision of school-based sexuality education, with the exception of abstinence-only teachings. In this PhD research, the University of Groningen collaborated with Rutgers, the Dutch knowledge centre for sexuality, and its Ugandan partners to study how school-based sexuality education within the cultural and religious context of Uganda can contribute to the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people. The results show that teachers often feel hesitant to teach sexuality education because of cultural norms and values that regard it immoral for teachers to discuss sexuality education in class. In addition, restrictive government- and school policies increase teachers’ fear of losing their jobs in case they do decide to teach about contraception. Teachers have been young people themselves and want to enhance their students’ wellbeing, but at the same time they feel that teaching comprehensive sexuality education will undermine their own wellbeing. The findings show the vulnerable position of teachers. Thus, to improve the implementation of school-based sexuality education, it is important that teachers feel supported by school policies and important stakeholders such as the school administration, colleagues, parents and students.