TANZANIA: Sex and condom education essential - govt
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
The bishops have slammed the teaching of condom use in schools
JOHANNESBURG, 18 January (PLUSNEWS) - Tanzania's education ministry has reaffirmed its position on the introduction of reproductive health and HIV/AIDS education at primary school level, despite condemnation from Catholic bishops.
The Roman Catholic Church recently slammed the new syllabus, labelling it "unacceptable", as the teaching of proper condom use had been included.
"Introduction of the [teaching of] use of condoms in schools, apart from being sinful, is indeed justification and opening the door for immoral lifestyles," Cardinal Polycarp Pengo, the archbishop of Dar es Salaam, said last week in a statement issued on behalf of Tanzania's Episcopal Conference.
However, Chief Educational Officer Ricky Mpama said the inclusion had been necessitated by data showing that some primary school pupils were engaging in unprotected sex, and between 2000 and 2005 an estimated 15,000 learners had dropped out of school as a result of pregnancy.
"Every primary school student is at risk of infection," Mpama told the local Guardian newspaper. "There is a big possibility some of them could be infected already."
About two million Tanzanians are living with HIV/AIDS.