Catholic bishops in Kenya have warned against what they view as an attempt to introduce Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) into the country’s schools by stealth.
The government is currently implementing reforms suggested by a task force constituted in October last year to review the Competency Based Curriculum, the educational structure introduced in Kenya in 2017 and implemented across the country over the past six years.
In a statement on 15 August, the bishops said that the framing of the school curriculum had given publishers latitude to introduce CSE in basic learning material for children in Grade 7.
Introducing the knowledge, the bishops said, would sexualise the learning environment for minors and lead to a spike in teenage pregnancies and abortion.
“The mischievous and behind-the-scenes introduction of CSE defies the narrative sold to Kenyans that the Competency Based Curriculum is based on values and [that] education given would be age appropriate,” said Bishop Paul Kariuki Njiru, the chairman of the Commission for Education and Religious Education at the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops.
According to Njiru, sections of pupils’ books and the teachers’ guide have created room for an introduction to family planning and contraception among very young learners.
The bishop said that this was contrary to the Ministry of Education’s policy, which bars exposure of explicit content to children. He said teenage pregnancies and abortions would increase because the curriculum failed to emphasise that abstinence is expected of all children.
“Our position as…bishops is [that the curriculum should] focus on what imparts knowledge, value and life skills to our children and moulds them for a better future tomorrow,” said Njiru.
The bishops’ conference argues that sex education does not enlighten children but exposes them to disruption from accepted educational goals.
They have warned parents to be vigilant and encouraged teachers to remove out the controversial section of the new textbooks.