NO fewer than 400 secondary school students on Wednesday graduated as Comprehensive Life-Skills and Health Education (CLHE) peer educators in Oyo State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the students were drawn from 24 schools including Oke-Bola Comprehensive School, Oke-Ado High School and Adem Group of Schools, Ibadan.
The CLHE is organised by the Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN) in collaboration with the Oyo State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
Speaking at the ceremony in Ibadan, the Oyo State Commissioner for Education, Mr Rahman Abduraheem, said young people were faced with multiple challenges in accessing sexual and reproductive health information and services.
Abduraheem was represented by Mrs Felicia Oyerinde, the Deputy Director (Schools) of the Oyo State Ministry of Education.
He said they were more susceptible to poor reproductive health outcomes which could be attributed to inadequate or wrong information, poor guidance gotten from close associates.
Abduraheem said addressing challenges such as teenage pregnancies, school drop outs, drug use,among others needed a more concerted efforts of all concerned stakeholders.
To this end, he says CLHE is a carefully developed curriculum closing the gaps existing in the former family life HIV/AIDS curriculum with provision of appropriate information, consistent with the evolving capacities of young people.
“It enables young people protect their health, well-being and dignity, it delivers a right based gender focused approach to sexuality education.
“The programme helped the graduants to develop self esteem, life skills that encourage critical thinking, clear communication, responsible decision making and above all, respectful behaviour.
“The knowledge should be improved upon, challenged, increased and shared with your mates both at home and school to get desired results,” he said.
Also, the PPFN Regional Coordinator, Mrs Elizabeth Abimbola, said PPFN is a leading NGO in the provision of sexual reproductive health and rights including family planning and HIV.
She added that over 60 per cent of Nigerian population is made up of adolescents and young people and the challenges of these age groups can not be over emphasized, ranging from unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, sexually transmitted infections, gender based violence, genital mutilation among others.
Abimbola said the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE)manual taught in schools was found not sufficient as it is being affected by religion, social and cultural factors among parents, adolescents and teachers in the community.
She said PPFN therefore reviewed the manual and upgraded to CLHE manual which comprises seven modules.
Abimbola said the new manual was being piloted in FCT, Oyo and Kaduna states.
According to her, the programme aimed at creating awareness and teaching correct, age appropriate information and quality services on sexual reproductive health and rights among adolescents in schools and out of schools.
“With the permission of the Oyo State Ministry of Education, earlier this year in January PPFN trained 24 teachers from public and private secondary schools in Ibadan South-West LGA.
“These teachers during the session have trained over 400 students who are graduating today as peer educators in Adolescence CLHE with few varieties including quiz.
“Presentations of gifts were given to 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions schools which are Oladipo Alayabde School of Science, ROCHAS FOUNDATION School and St. Paul’s Anglican College respectively.
“Some of the benefits of these interventions were that students are well informed on Sexual Reproductive Health than before as demonstrated in the highly keen quiz competition.
“There is also improved access to reproductive health services by adolescents and parents in PPFN clinic, among several other benefits,” she said.
Abimbola also remarked that 700 students were enrolled in 24 secondary schools and 400 students completed the modules.
“This is just the beginning, we are scaling up to other LGAs and states with in the federation,” she said. (NAN)