A STUDY OF ADOLESCENT ATTITUDE TOWARDS SEX EDUCATION IN THE SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL
Background to the Study
The Nigerian society today has to grapple with many behavioural problems of its youth. Such problems include truancy, disobedience, drug offenses, assault, insult, stealing, violent, demonstration, vandalism, examination malpractices, robbery and secret cult activities (Nnachi, 2003). Apart from these widely publicized behavioural problems, heterosexual activities are also listed among types of behavioural problems prevalent in Nigeria secondary schools. These are variously named in the literature as sex abuse, sex offenses, sexual misconduct, sexual immorality, sexual promiscuity and sexual maladjustment (Odoemelam, 1996; Adedipe, 2000; Ndu, 2000; Nnachi, 2003). The end of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century represented an important period in the invention of the concept we now call adolescence. Adolescence can be described as the period between the latter stage of childhood and early stage of adulthood (Health Foundation of Ghana, 2004). The World Health Organization (WHO) suggested adolescence to be the period between the ages of 10 and 19 or the second decade of life. Adolescence, therefore, refers to boys and girls who fall within this stage or period. Sex education simply refers to the systematic attempt to promote the healthy awareness in the individual on matters of his or sound development, functioning, behavior and attitude through direct teaching. Sex is a topic, which most people would not like to talk about. The Nigerian parents’ attitude to sex is that the child will grow to know. In the home, when the child is present and parents are discussing issues about sex, even the adolescent child is kept
away from sight. An inquisitive child who ventures to ask questions about sex is morally branded “a bad” child. Many society and homes consider discussion of sexual issues as a taboo. In view of this, most parents find it too difficult,
awkward and uncomfortable to discuss sex-related issues with their children. Children are condemned when they mention a word referring to some sexual organ or act. Even the hands of babies are hit whenever they fondle with their sex organs. Due to this, throughout adolescence, the youth in the country learn about sex and sexuality in a variety of ways devoid, in most cases of factual and empirical information and in secrecy. The child comes to know about sex possibly from an early age through relatives, friends, the elderly, movies, and drawing.