A critical examination of sexuality education in Malawi: A case study of Blantyre district
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The writer of this dissertation examines how sexual learning (sexuality learning acquired out-of-school, and without written formalities) both complements and contradicts sexuality education in realizing sexual and reproductive health (SRHR) rights in Malawi. Notwithstanding being a State party to various Human Rights Instruments, and having a number of national laws and policies supporting realization of SRHR, Malawi is in breach of the instruments, the laws and the policies and ignore reality that although children are not taught in sexuality education how to play sex, they still know it from sexual learning. The writer therefore carried out a comparative study between sexuality education and sexual learning for realizing SRHR using sexual learning as a benchmark. The methodological framework was informed by exploring reality of learners’ sexuality lives to interrogate and investigate the law and policies. As a result, Women’s Law approach went together with: grounded approach, human rights approach, ‘charmed circle of sex approach’, open systems approach, and cultural relativism approach. A qualitative data collection method was embraced to aid in collection of non-numerical data. A total of 149 people were involved in the research i.e. 71 males and 78 females. The data collection methods included desk research and interviews of key informants, random individual interviews, in-depth interviews, and focus group discussion. The findings of the comparative study show that sexuality education is wanting in conceptualization, and competences of teachers teaching sexuality. Further, unlike sexuality learning, there is extreme and unsustainable sexual control of adolescent sexuality in sexuality education. Sex/gender barriers are affecting sexuality education. The research also finds that learners especially girls do not have access to fertility control, let alone information on fertility control in schools and homes of learners. Finally, to avoid culture from blocking human rights, in developing sexuality education curriculum, Malawi did not use Relativist approach. According to the findings, there is need for advocacy and public awareness campaigns to sexuality education. Ministry of Education and Malawi Human Rights Commission should take lead in managing the desired change in collaboration with Ministry of Health, Ministry responsible for Youth, and Ministry responsible for Gender and children.
Additional Citation InformationChavula, G. (2016). A critical examination of sexuality education in Malawi: A case study of Blantyre district (Unpublished master’s thesis). University of Zimbabwe, Harare.
SponsorNorwegian Agency for the Development Co-operation (NORAD)
sexual and reproductive health rights
sexual education curriculum
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