Major Issues of Contention in the Implementation of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to Learners with Disabilities in Zambia
Keywords: Disability, Comprehensive Sexuality Education, Sexual Reproductive Health, Inclusive Education
AbstractThe educational curriculum of Zambia has since 2013 embraced the teaching of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to learners of diverse backgrounds. Learners with disabilities are required to access the general curriculum, including the CSE component. However, at the time of this study in 2020, it was not known how the CSE component of the curriculum was being implemented to learners with disabilities in special and inclusive schools and what obstacles act as a hindrance to CSE implementation to learners with disabilities. To cover this gap, we took a qualitative approach to study the obstacles to the acquisition of comprehensive sexuality education skills among learners with disabilities from 2020 in Zambia's five provinces. Education key informants from the Ministry of General education, curriculum development and higher education institutions, and parents, learners with and without disabilities participated in the study. Data were collected between September and October 2020. Data was analysed thematically. The study established that there were several barriers to the acquisition of CSE skills among learners with disabilities with included traditional and cultural barriers, contradictory educational and local policies and lack of support for CSE requisites among others. However, there is a strong desire among learners to learn CSE in schools. We recommend capacity building of teachers on inclusive pedagogy that could break through cultural barriers; provision of appropriate teaching and learning materials and digital inclusion to enhance CSE curricula access to learners and young people with disability; and wider stakeholder engagement especially parents to increase programme support and consistency in sensitisation messages for the benefit of learners and young people living with disabilities.