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More students in TVET institutions suffer from sex-related challenges — Study

BY: Bridget Aazore Yuora
Mr Frederick Yenbaar Nuuri-Teg addresing participants in the meeting
Mr Frederick Yenbaar Nuuri-Teg addresing participants in the meeting

Students between ages 18 and 24 in six Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) institutions in the country suffered from teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and gender-based violence due to limited knowledge, attitude and skills on those issues in 2015, according to a study.

It was also established that, 80 per cent of girls and 73 per cent of boys between the ages of 15 and 24 in the institutions did not have adequate knowledge on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) which affected their ability to make decisions regarding their health and future.

The study further revealed that 10 per cent of girls and boys in TVET had their first sexual intercourse before age 15.

Programme

This was disclosed at a stakeholders’ meeting in Accra by Savana Signatures, a non-governmental organisation operating in the Northern, Upper West and Volta regions, in collaboration with Edukans, a Dutch NGO, to discuss the findings and lessons of an initiative dubbed, ‘Ready Steady Ghana pilot project.’

It involved the development of a comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) programme to address the SRHR needs of young people in TVET institutions in Ghana.

The project used a two-pronged approach; capacity building and development of an SRHR guideline for TVET providers, based on which a new CSE curriculum for TVET institutions was developed.

The project was funded by Nuffic and implemented by Edukans and Savana Signatures.

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Piloting

According to the SRHR specialist for the project, Mr Herman Kruijer, “There is overwhelming evidence on the existence of sexual and reproductive problems among adolescents in Ghana, one of which is the lack of knowledge on SRHR among adolescents in the country.

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He explained that: “These and some other factors influenced the piloting of the project in Ghana.”

Mr Kruijer said it was successfully piloted in six formal and non-formal TVET partner organisations in the country where there was positive outcome in the significant improvement in knowledge on SRHR and positive attitudes towards issues on it among beneficiaries.

Significance

The Executive Director of Savana Signatures, Mr John Stephen Agbenyo, stated that Ready Steady Ghana comes along with guidelines for its implementation and, therefore, serves as a starting point for policy development and implementation of programmes for improvement of SRHR for TVET trainees.

“It further seeks to empower more young people by scaling-up to reach other formal and informal TVET institutions in Ghana by building the capacity of TVET providers to facilitate the Ready Steady Ghana curriculum.”

For his part, the Ready Steady Ghana project coordinator for Savana Signatures, Mr Frederick Yenbaar Nuuri-Teg, said his outfit would further engage and interact with the government through relevant state institutions to explore the possibility of adopting the SRHR curriculum, manual and guidelines at the national level to ensure more young people in TVET institutions had access to comprehensive sexuality education.