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AN EVALUATION OF TEACHERS AND PARENTS ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE TEACHING OF SEX EDUCATION
Inspite of the perceived need for the introduction of sex education in schools, the attitude of man in the society to its introduction is still that of Skepticism. Therefore, this study was carried out to evaluate teachers and parents attitude towards the introduction of sex education in Saki West Local Government Area Secondary Schools.
On the whole 155 respondents were used for this study. They consist of 105 teachers from five selected schools and 50 pupils from government parastatals and private sectors. The data collected were statistically analyzed using frequency counts, percentage and t-test to test four null hypotheses. Three of these were accepted and one was rejected.
Based upon the outcome of this study, it was concluded that teachers and parents perceived the introduction of sex education alike; they agreed that religious affiliation has no effect on their attitude towards the introduction of sex education in schools.
Recommendations were made that teaches and parents should be involved in organizing sex education programmes.
1.1. Background to the Study
Sex is a three lettered word that has always arouse a sense of consciousness and sends jitters down the spine of any hearer at the mere mentioning of the word. Sexual impulse is a basic and integral part of human nature whether young or old and it deeply affects the character of each and every one.
The issue of sex education has become a matter of serious controversy among parents, teachers, counselors, school administrators and adolescents in secondary schools. A pertinent question therefore is this: Why has Sex Education maintained this status- quo?
The answer is not far-fetched. In the context of traditional African society, sex is a sacred act which is reserved for adults and done in secret. Hence, it is viewed with utmost disclaim and regarded as a taboo for young boys and girls to engage in sex or discuss about it in public. The perpetrator himself or herself even feels some sense of guilt.
If an issue is held in high esteem of sacredness like this, why should it be discussed with adolescents from whom the act itself should be alienated? This has been the question bothering the mind of many people while some people hold a contrary view that such a step is not out of place. It is quite obvious that many parents and teachers are yet to see the need for sex education in our secondary schools. The controversy emanates from what should be the definition of the concept it self, the modus operandi for teaching it to the adolescents, what should be the course content, what is going to be the instructional objective, who should teach the programme and the category of target adolescents to benefit from the programme.
Many schools of thought have emerged to argue for and against the proposal. While some believed that the introduction of sex education will further promote sexual promiscuity, immorality and tempt adolescents to practice what they have learnt, others believed that the programme will assist adolescents to fully understand themselves and their physiological make up.
Sex education in general cuts across not only the relationship between male and female alone but also the knowledge of anatomy and physiological aspects of human life and the reproductive system of the body. Now, if sex is a sacred and secret act, is it not reasonable that the human reproductive organs and its discussion should be kept secret or even avoided? This is the view of those who are vehemently opposed to the idea of sex education for adolescents.
The sexual behaviour of the adolescents is a complex problem which the teacher, parents and the society at large find it difficult if not impossible to tackle. Yet this area is a very crucial and significant aspect of the total development of the child. It is the view of this school of thought that sex education is necessary in life.
A critical observation will reveal that the school is the second on the ladder of socialization. Being in this vantage position, the school is expected to come to the aid of the society to guide against moral declination of every member. By virtue of education, adolescents fall into the hand of the school and the school come to the rescue by not allowing the imposition of individual decision and action in relation to male and female association which is developing through age long myths and false words which are accepted as facts by young boys and girls.
This problem may also be due to parents’ low educational status on the constraints posed by tradition and culture in discussing sensitive issues such as sex with their children. In most societies, the above view is helped by adults. It is important to note however that adolescents do not adhere strictly to cultural regulations about sex and the ideal virginity before marriage rarely exists. Some societies are permissive to adolescent’s sexuality provided it takes place in the context of loving relationship. Casual sex though unacceptable in any society is quite common among Nigerian adolescents.
This is where the school comes in as an institution of considerable importance to the child. It presents him with a new physical, mental and social experience. It is often the first experience which he/she has of the life outside the family.
In addition, the school environment will be found to be most suitable for sex education because of the peer group situation present in which they can learn unhindered. The school also has an important role to play in preparing children and teenagers for the development of an ideal family life and a cordial relationship between the sexes.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
The last two decades have witnessed a sharp and unprecedented fall in moral standard of adolescents which is more pronounced in sexual activities. This has been a matter of serious concern to many people. There have been diverse opinion on who and what are responsible for this.
Some have heaped the blame on parents whom them claimed have not been giving the adolescents accurate and adequate information because a large proportion of them tend to shy away from discussion of sex related issues.
This may be due to the fact of the moral taboos of sex education taught by white missionaries, who use only clean words. In consequence, these words later became taboos today, it is as forbidden to say sexual intercourse, penis or vagina on Nigerian television and radio as it is to say fuck, cock and curt on the nation’s networks in the United States.
Others think that teachers are to be blamed for this moral decadence. They identified the school as having a role to play in sex education of adolescents. They opined that teachers are expected to take up the potential role of sex education and counselling.
The problem of this study therefore is to evaluate teachers and parents attitude towards the introduction of sex education in Saki West Local Government Area secondary schools.
Should sex education be included in the school curriculum? How much should be taught? What age group should be targeted? What is the opinion of parents on the equipping of the school to handle such a programme? This is the problem which this study aims at looking into.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main concern of this study is to evaluate teachers and parents attitude towards the teaching of Sex Education in Saki West Local Government Area Secondary Schools.
The study intends to probe into the view of teachers and parents as regards the teaching of sex education in secondary schools. It seeks to examine the extent to which religion, age-old beliefs, society and the mass media have affected such attitudes.
Apart from highlighting the benefits of sex education to the secondary school students, it also aims at finding out the source of any wrong information which adolescents might have acquired and followed without evaluating their validity which later leads them to have unwanted pregnancies through uncontrolled sexual relationship.
Finally, this study intends to empirically determine the adolescent’s awareness of sex education giving to them either in the school or at home. It will find out who should teach sex education.
1.4. Significance of the Study
There are remarkable differences in what each society considers desirable and undesirable in terms of sexual behaviour, thus there are differences in what they attempt to prevent and promote.
In the same vein, the means employed to achieve individual’s aim also differ, one of such popular means is the introduction of sex education. However, observation has shown that parents have reservations about the move to introduce sex education in the curriculum.
One of the significances of this study is that it will identify the values of sex education if included in the curriculum of secondary schools. It will investigate the role of teachers who would be aware of whom and when to teach sex education and strategy to employ.
Parent would know how to deal with their teenagers, when it comes to disseminating information on sex education. Adolescents too would be able to take care of themselves sexually and they would be able to plan for their future wisely.
The findings of this study will be of immense benefit to psychologists and government at all levels. The psychologists would be able to counsel and guide the adolescents aright and government at all levels would be able to formulate policies that will be of tremendous benefit to all concerned in case of sex education.
1.5. Research Questions
This study has specifically addressed itself to the following questions:
1. Is lack of sex education in the curriculum of secondary schools of any significant effect for the immoral sexual dealings of adolescents?
2. Do parents have negative attitudes to sex education either at home or in the school?
3. Do teachers have negative attitude to sex education either at home or in the school?
4. Do teachers and parents regard sex as a subject which needs to be discussed in secret or away from adolescents?
5. Do adolescents start to date too early without the correct knowledge of helpful dating skills?
The following hypotheses are proposed for this study:
Hypothesis I: There is no significant difference in the attitude of male and female teachers towards the teaching of sex education in secondary schools.
Hypothesis II: There is no significant difference in the attitude of male and female parents towards the introduction of sex education in secondary schools in Saki West Local Government.
Hypothesis III: There is no significant difference in the attitudes of Muslim and Christian parents towards the introduction of sex education in secondary schools in Saki West Local Government.
Hypothesis IV: There is no significant difference between the attitudes of Muslims and Christian teachers towards the introduction of sex education in Saki West Local Government secondary schools.
1.7. Scope and Delimitation of the Study
There are multi various factors that are responsible for both the negative and positive attitudes of teachers and parents to the teaching of sex education in secondary schools. Besides, there are ten secondary schools scattered all over the wards, villages and towns that make up Saki West Local Government Area. It is almost impossible to study all the factors that are responsible and every parents or teachers in every secondary schools.
Putting into consideration the time constraint and limited available financial resources at the researcher’s disposal, the research will limit itself to only one of these factors which is religious affliction of teachers and parents.
Five secondary schools will be randomly selected as samples for the study and respondents will be limited to teachers and parents. It is assumed that they will understand the question contained in the questionnaire.
1.8. Definition of Terms
In order to appreciate in concreted and clear terms, the idea being presented in this study, it demands that the researcher should operationally define and clarify these terms, key words and concepts used in this study so as to provide clarity and the understanding of main cause of the argument embodied in the study. This is to ensure that misinterpretation of terms and ideas are removed.
The most important terms used in this study are operationally defined below:
Sex: This word cannot be pinned down to a single definition, since there is no single identity that can be labeled sex. For the purpose of this study however, sex would be taken to mean either of these two definitions: the character of being male or female in reproduction or physical activity between two people in which they touch each other’s sexual organs and which may include sexual intercourse.
Education: Education embraces all those experiences of the individual, through which knowledge is acquired, the intellect.
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