A study conducted on Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH) in Ghana has revealed that teachers lacked the requisite resources and time for Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Education.
It also indicated that many students received SRH information through social media, friends, parents and other family members with mothers mostly cited by both males and females as the top most before fathers.
Professor Kofi Awusabo-Asare, a senior lecturer at the University of Cape Coast and a member of the research team who presented the research findings, recommended that teacher training be standardized and improved upon to adequately prepare educators with the relevant skills to teach SRH effectively.
To reverse the trend, he also proposed a synergy between pre-service teacher training and the structure of the school system to be improved to enable teachers to receive adequate training to teach topics in SRH.
The study, commissioned by the University of Cape Coast (UCC) and the U.S based Guttmacher Institute, was on the theme ” From paper to practice: sexuality Education policies and implementation in Ghana”.
The study conducted in the Greater Accra, Brong Ahafo and Northern Regions captured data on teachers of subject that contained SRH and students in 78 Senior High Schools as well as in-depth interviews with key informants involved in policy making and implementation at the national, regional and local levels.
The research was to find answers on policies and curricula regarding Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) education in Ghana.
It also prioritised comprehensive and rights-based focus to SRH education at the primary and junior High School levels and ensured that students received essential age-appropriate information prior to initiating sexual activity.
It identified teachers as the main sources of information for students as such the quality of teaching depended on their preparedness, confidence, knowledge and skills.
The research advocated the integration of a wider range of topics into core subjects of the curricula and further investment in teaching materials and resources, to promote SRH education for the healthy development of adolescents.
It noted that while some parents played a lead role in SRH education, others shied away from teaching sexuality due to inadequate knowledge, lack of confidence to discuss such topics, and for cultural reasons.
It thus recommended that efforts be made to sensitise and educate parents so that they could adequately fulfil that important role of providing SRH education to their children.
The research further revealed that community elders played important roles in delivering SRH information to young people and stressed the need for SRH organisations to work with them to modernise the content of what they provided.
It emphasised that the delivery of accurate information on SRH outside the school was essential as it helped in reaching out-of-school youth to address topics not covered in school curricula.
The research suggested the improvement and expansion of SRH education provision at the primary and junior high school levels.