Education helps to develop desirable habits, skills, and attitudes, which make an individual a good citizen. It prepares an individual for change within the basic moral standards, and change within the core values of society, sex education is basically vital for this purpose. Several reasons have been advanced on why it is most suited for these purpose and as such seriously needed. It is to this effect that this research seeks to investigate the perception of parents towards sex education in Junior Secondary School in Enugu Urban Area of Enugu State. The design adopted in this study is the survey design .The population of this study consisted of 1109 literate and illiterate parents that have wards in the six different government owned and grant-aided schools in Enugu urban area of Enugu educational zone in Enugu State. A stratified random sampling was used to divide the entire Enugu urban area into six strata. A purposive sampling procedure was used to select six different schools in the area. Descriptive statistics of mean and standard deviation was used to answer all the research questions, while Chi-square test was used to test the hypothesis. The outcome of the results revealed that parental perception of the teaching of sex education is significantly negative. Parents perceived that teaching sex education to adolescent amounts to encouraging immorality in Enugu urban area of Enugu State. Based on the findings, there is need to educate parents about the concepts and areas that seem not to gain approval especially in topics related to sexual issues /problems of young people and the use of contraceptives and birth control methods. This will make it possible for students who are experiencing sexual health problems to get help. It is also necessary for the Government to train and employ guidance counsellors, health education teachers and nurses in schools to teach sex education.
1.1 Background of the Study
Sex education generally is a broad term used to describe education about human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, human sexual intercourse and other aspects of human sexual behavior. According to Anibueze (2001) sex education is a study that makes an individual develop a positive and wholesome attitude towards sex, which enables him to live a full life, enjoy his or her life fully and develop as a responsible member of the of society to which he/she belongs. Like other forms of education, sex education aims at training the youths towards a better society. Sex education therefore is a design which enables an individual to acquire knowledge about sexuality and attitude towards sex. Kearney (2008) also defined sex education as involving a comparative course of action by the school, calculated to bring about the socially desirable attitudes, practices and personal conduct on the part of children and adults that will best protect the individual as a human and the family as a social institution.
The main goals of sex education as Nwafor (2006) puts it; it is the promotion of sexual health by providing learner’s with opportunities to develop positive and factual view of sex, acquire the information and skills they need to take care of their health.
Despite the great positive influence sex education has on man, it has not been introduced in the curriculum of Junior Secondary Schools in Enugu State. Youths in the area are constantly faced with the threat of sexual issues, such as ignorance, misconduct, immorality, and diseases. Following this, it has become imperative now that there have been need for educationist to give attention to all phases of education by upgrading and improving the school curriculum on the area of sex education. Sex education is necessary to prepare the young for the task ahead. Even when the society sees the need for sex education, parents may not show any sign of support for its inclusion in the Junior Secondary School curriculum. It is worth noting that in the school environment, socialization goes on among children of diverse cultures and backgrounds. Sex education can take place in a variety of settings both in and out of school. The school plays a vital significant role in the preparation of youths to cope with task of becoming responsible men and women in future through creation of awareness (Helen, 2006).
Kehily, (2002) ascertains that, in this different context, different people have opportunity and responsibility to provide sex education for young people. Therefore parents’ attitude can have effects on their children’s lives, some parents even when aware of their children’s curiosity towards sex matters, may deliberately deny them satisfactory answers or may completely shun them.
The word perception means attitudes or habit intended to counteract. According to Denga (2002) perception is the process of becoming aware of object qualities or relations by ware of sense organs. To Mallum and Haggai (2000) perception is the process by which we organize and interpret the pattern of stimuli in our environment. Perceived is defined as the process by which the individual uses his sense organs to transform the separate stimuli of the environment into awareness of objects and meanings. The combination of personal, present, sensory experiences and past experiences are organized into pattern of awareness which shows the quality and relationship of objects and meanings Denga (2002). The sum total of a person’s perception about a particular thing is attributed to his attitude. A person’s attitude makes him or her react in any way to a given situation favorably, indifferently or unfavorably (Mallum and Haggai, 2000)
Parent’s perception of sex education would refer to how they view and react to the need of sex education in Junior Secondary Schools. A study on the perception of parents towards sex education in Junior Secondary Schools in Enugu urban area is necessary because it will clearly give an insight on the level of their awareness and importance attached to this aspect of education. This will either lead to acceptance or resistance thereby drawing on the support of school administrators in redefining ways of introducing sex education in Junior Secondary Schools. Izugbara (2001) observed that in Nigeria, children grow up sexually absurd caught with distorted views of sex. The denial of sex education which primarily aims at giving correct factual information and understanding of problems of sex may create hardship to adolescents and the society in general. Besides, the youths cannot easily identify the direction of social change and are always caught in the web of confusion. Our education system which has been responsible for teaching our children what changes occur in their body and why they take place finds it difficult since sex education has not been included in the school as a subject.
It is not certain what has hampered its introduction. It is therefore difficult to begin to identify strategies to introduce sex education among Junior Secondary schools in Enugu urban area of Enugu State without actually knowing the cause of lack of it, since the perception of parents have not been ascertained. It is against this backdrop that the researcher set out to investigate the perception of parents towards sex education in Junior Secondary Schools in Enugu urban area of Enugu state.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Sexuality of man is an integral part of his existence which has the ability to bring to man much pleasure or pain on how it is handled. It becomes evident that youths especially adolescents in Enugu metropolis are constantly faced within the threat of sex issues such as diseases, misconduct, ignorance, and immorality. The inability of the educational system especially in Enugu metropolis to incorporate sex education in Junior Secondary curriculum has created a delay in the acquisition of appropriate information and gap in knowledge to sexuality matters for adolescents. It is no wonder that the young ones in Enugu metropolis attempt to fill this gap through means which are not often adequate and reliable, the resultant effect is rise in sexual menace with the high prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases particularly HIV/AIDS which have become global pandemic events without any known cure yet. There is gross misbehavior, social misfits among the youths in the area. There are also incessant cases of early marriages, abortions, unwanted pregnancies, school drop-outs and gross indiscipline among the youths in the area. This has posed a threat in Enugu State in Enugu urban area in particular, the state is at the risk of losing its working population together with the future generations of this great nation.
The non-implementation of sex education in Junior Secondary Schools in Enugu urban area of Enugu State up to this period presupposes that some problems exist. Therefore, it is to this regard that the researcher seeks to investigate the perception of parents towards sex education in Junior Secondary Schools in Enugu urban area of Enugu State.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to find out the perception of parents towards sex education in Junior Secondary Schools’ curriculum in Enugu urban area of Enugu state. The study specifically intends to:
i) Determine the perception of parents towards sex education in Junior Secondary Schools in Enugu urban area of Enugu state.
ii) Find out whether culture affects perception of parents towards sex education in Junior Secondary Schools in Enugu metropolis.
iii) Investigate the curriculum planners’ effort towards the inclusion of sex education in Junior Secondary School syllabus in Enugu metropolis.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were raised to guide this study.
i) What is the perception of parents towards the teaching of sex education in Junior Secondary Schools?
ii) To what extent does culture affect the teaching of sex education in Junior Secondary Schools?
iii) What is the curriculum planners’ effort towards the inclusion of sex education in Junior Secondary School Syllabus in Enugu metropolis?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were generated and tested at 0.05 level of significance
i) Perception of parents has no significant effect towards the teaching of sex education in Junior Secondary Schools
ii) Culture has no significant effect in the teaching of sex education in Junior Secondary Schools
iii) The curriculum planners’ effort towards the inclusion of sex education in Junior Secondary School Syllabus in Enugu metropolis has no significant effect on the teaching of sex education in Junior Secondary Schools
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study is undertaken in order to ascertain the perception of parents towards sex education in Junior Secondary Schools in Enugu urban area of Enugu state. It is therefore considered to be significant to the students, parents, education policy makers, federal government of Nigeria, guidance and counsellors, and the society at large. The findings of this study to the students may hopefully enlighten them on issues that constitute sex education, the study may also encourage students to acquire responsible sexual behavior thereby preventing them from early marriages, premarital sex, unwanted pregnancies, increased abortions, spread of human immune virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), school drop outs and other social services characterized in our society.
To the parents, findings of this study may hopefully reveal their perceptual level. If positive or negative they could chart a new direction in addressing the issues and challenges arising from sexual matters among their children which also affects them greatly. Parents may create more awareness for the envisaged program of intervention through campaigns in churches and village meetings. To the education policy makers, the findings of this study is expected to shed more light and give them the direction to enact a policy on the inclusion of sex education in the Junior Secondary schools curriculum as a course of study and as well as encourage its speedy implementation in Junior Secondary schools. The findings of this study could prepare guidance and counsellors for effective development and implementation of the much needed sex education program. Counsellor education program could also be restructured and expanded as to take in its stride, such counselling intervention spheres as sexuality counselling for students. To the school administrators, this finding on this study will enable them create more awareness on sex education and dangers of negligence. This could be through seminars, workshops, conferences, and public enlightenment campaigns. Well planned and coordinated dispensation of valid information through the mass media will be employed by the school administrators to achieve better positive attitudes to issues of sex education since the youths are the future leaders of tomorrow and cannot continue to be ignorant in sexual matters. The findings of this study may hopefully enable federal government to encompass support for expansion of government resource allocation for sexuality education and counselling in Junior Secondary Schools, government education agencies will work hand in hand with professional counsellors to achieve this feat. Finally, the findings of this study may provide empirical basis for improvement in this aspect of education. This is because the result may provide empirical evidences on parents, effects and perception of sex education in Junior Secondary Schools.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This research is within the scope of Enugu urban area. The research covers the Junior Secondary Schools in Enugu urban area. The scope of investigation was within the context of parents’ perception towards the introduction of sex education in Junior Secondary Schools in Enugu urban area of Enugu state.