Parental Perceptions, Experiences, and Expectations on the Teaching of Sexuality Education in and Out of Gambian Schools

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för pedagogik och specialpedagogik

Abstract: Aim: This study seeks to contribute to the literature inadequacy in the field of sexuality education in the Gambia by highlighting the controversies surrounding sexuality education for young people by exploring the perceptions, experiences, and expectations of parents on the teaching of sexuality education in and out of Gambian schools.Theory: The theoretical framework that guided the methodology and data analysis of the study was the post-modern feminist theory which utilizes the constructivist perspective and the psychoanalytic approaches to sexuality by also making use of the Freudian frameworks. The theories guided the discussions around how perceptions around sex and sexuality are constructed and interpreted accordingly in Gambian societies. I assumed that sexuality is constructed and shaped by social, cultural, and religious influences.Method: Qualitative method was used through focus group discussions and individual in-depth interviews to study participant’s voices through their narratives of the meanings they attached to sexuality and how they are constructed. The interviews were guided by open-ended questionnaires and respondents were selected through a non-probability snowball sampling of parents of school-going children/adolescents from both rural and urban Gambian communities.Results: Results of the study indicated that issues of sexuality in Gambian societies are influenced by deeply-seated cultural and religious norms that construct and interpret issues of sex and sexuality accordingly. Most parents in this study perceive sexuality education as striking against their cultural norms and values. What was most crucial in their arguments on the delivery of sexuality education in homes and schools was the timing and age appropriateness of such teaching on the mental maturity of pre-pubescent adolescents for fear of leading them into sexual experimentation or inappropriate sexual behavior. Although they highlighted that parent-child family discussions take place in most of their homes, nevertheless discussions were mainly centered on gender roles, culturally and religiously accepted behavior, the importance of education, and life skill development but rarely on in-depth sexuality discussions.

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