ADOLESCENTS ATTITUDE TOWARDS SEX EDUCATION; A STUDY OF SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLS IN KUMASI METROPOLIS

*Morality of the young is of perennial concern to educators throughout the world. As a result numerous studies have been conducted and various suggestions have been made in order to educate the young people about their sexual functioning. The study was conducted specifically to find out about adolescents attitude towards sex education and their opinions on various sexual issues that are incumbent on development to adulthood sexuality. It was also to establish the need for sex education in schools. A descriptive design was used with a sample size for the study being 320 comprising respondents selected from form two students in eight senior secondary schools in Kumasi Metropolis. The schools were obtained from a stratified, purposive and random sampling. The research revealed a number of findings in respect of the adolescents' opinions about the sexual issues involved in their growth to adulthood. These findings which have significant implications are summarised below. Respondents were overwhelmingly in support of the view that sex education should be introduced in the senior high school curriculum. It was also evident that sex education can be improved in the SHSs by establishing counselling centres and also by forming virgin clubs in the schools.






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Publication: Ife Psychologia
Author: Frimpong, Samuel Oppong
Date published: March 1, 2010

INTRODUCTION

The end of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century represented an important period in the invention of the concept we now call adolescence. Adolescence can be described as the period between the latter stage of childhood and early stage of adulthood (Health Foundation of Ghana, 2004). The World Health Organization (W. H. O. [1975]) suggested adolescence to be the period between the ages of 10 and 19 or the second decade of life. Adolescents, therefore, refer to boys and girls who fall within this stage or period.

Sex education simply refers to the systematic attempt to promote the healthy awareness in the individual on matters of his or her sexual development, functioning, behaviour and attitudes through direct teaching. Sex is a topic, which most people would not like to talk about. The Ghanaian parents' attitude to sex is that the child will grow to know. In the home, when the child is present and parents are discussing issues about sex, even the adolescent child is kept away from sight. An inquisitive child who ventures to ask questions about sex is morally branded "a bad" child. Many societies and homes consider discussions of sexual issues as a taboo. In view of this, most parents find it too difficult, awkward and uncomfortable to discuss sex related issues with their children. Children are condemned when they mention a word referring to some sexual organ or act. Even the hands of babies are hit whenever they fondle with their sex organs. Due to this, throughout adolescence, the youth in the country learn about sex and sexuality in a variety of ways devoid, in most cases, of factual and empirical information and in secrecy.

The child comes to know about sex possibly from an early age through relatives, friends, the elderly, movies and drawing. A 14year- old adolescent was asked where he learned about sex. He responded, "in the streets." Asked if this was the only place, he said, 'Well, I learned some from playboy and other sex magazines". What about school, he was asked. He responded, "No, they talk about hygiene, but not much that could help you out". When asked his parents' contributions, he replied, "They haven't told me one thing". (Powers and Baskin, 1969).

In a similar survey contained in the Population Report (1995), seventy five percent of the students sampled preferred to discuss about bodily changes that occur during adolescence with peers of the same sex, none of them wanted it to be with their parents. As a result of a cultural taboo, adolescents in many developing countries rarely discuss sexual matters explicitly with their parents. Most information for their patchy knowledge often comes from peers of the same sex, who may themselves be uninformed or incorrectly informed. The end result is that, the adolescent is compelled to opt for sex education through teenage sexual adventure, most of which result from misinformation, poverty and the desire to know about one's sexual development, hence experimentation to explore one's sexual life. In view of this, Dr Robert K. Mensah of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department of the Ko rie- Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra expressed concern about the increasing rate of teenage pregnancy in the community. He stressed the need for all first and second cycle institutions to educate their pupils on the hazards involved (Mensah, 1990).

The issue of introducing sex education has been a tropical and controversial one with two schools of thought emerging. This scholarly tug of war has engaged the attention of policy makers and government the world over, religious organizations, parents and even children. Many are those who have called for its introduction due to the apparent havoc that irresponsible and unplanned sexual behaviour bring. In Great Britain, the showing of a remarkable series of films titled understanding sparked considerable interest in sex education. Powers and Baskin (1969). Similar efforts are also being made in Ghana. In 2002, at La Polyclinic in Accra, a special apartment designated adolescents' health corner has been created/ established where young people who needed counselling were sent there for the services (Reproductive Health Committee [RHC Annual Report, 2002]). Radio Ada (an FM station) also organized programmes about adolescent health issues in the Ada District of the Greater Accra Region to educate adolescents about their reproductive health in 2002. The objective was to equip adolescents with knowledge and skills and services to practice safe sex including abstinence.

Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) also continues with the delivery of its programmes in schools. In- school service programmes also took off in ten SHS within Cape Coast Municipality by the education division of Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG). The project started with sensitisation of school authorities and students on the services, the benefits and the kind of support that would be expected from all stakeholders. Staff counsellors visited the school for counselling sessions as well as the provision of sexually transmitted infection (STI) management. (PPAG Annual Report, 2003). As a child reaches the adolescence stage, the interest in the opposite sex generates. This instinct (sex drive), which has been present with the adolescent since childhood pushes him/her to 'pet', kiss and manipulate the sex organ etc. Curiosity and experimentation of sex, which, sometimes lead to teenage pregnancy, and or contraction of STDs are prevalent at this adolescent stage.

Statement of the problem

A lot of sex related problems facing the youth of today is undoubtedly linked with lack of sex education. It is apt to point out that even though these (matters about sex) impinge generally on man, the vulnerable group is the youth, many of whom are not knowledgeable in matters concerning sex. In their bid to satisfy their curiosity, many a youth would like to experiment these things and inexperience usually leads them into dangerous consequences. . Many a time, the adolescent receives wrong information and these myths and misconceptions are carried throughout their lifetime. Therefore, there is a need to provide adolescents with information so as to enable them to cope better with these changes (Sathe, 1992).

The fact is that with or without these services, the tendency towards precocious sexual relations, pregnancy in adolescence and the alarming increase in the incidence of sexuallytransmitted diseases (STDs) in this age group, are commonplace and universal realities. It is necessary that the adolescent is made aware of these bodily changes through education before they occur so that they can adequately prepare themselves before the onset of puberty, and also help them engage in other activities rather than sexual manipulation. The study, therefore, sought to explore the adolescents' opinion on various sexual issues that account for their sexual development and to establish the need for sex education in Senior High schools in Ghana, especially in the Kumasi metropolis.

Research Questions

1. Who, amongst parent, peers and teachers, sibling and church elders in the students' opinion, better placed to give sex education?

2. To what extent do students favour the teaching of sex education in schools?

3. In what ways can sex education be effectively promoted among adolescents in Senior High Schools?

LITERATURE REVIEW

The Concept of Attitude

An attitude is a disposition to respond favourably or unfavourably toward some person, thing, event, place, idea or situation (Zanna and Rempel, 1988). In other words attitudes are the thoughts and feelings that encourage someone to act as if s/he likes or dislikes something. According to Coon (1996), an attitude is a learned predisposition to respond to people, objects or institution in a positive or negative way. Coon opined that most attitudes have a belief component, an emotional component and an action component. The belief component consists of what a person thinks or believes about the object of the attitude. The emotional component also consists of one's feelings towards the object of the attitude while the action component of how one tends to act towards the object of the attitude. Coon (1996) concludes that attitudes summarize past experience and predict or direct future actions.

Attitude Formation

Attitudes are acquired in several basic ways. Sometimes we form them through direct contact (Coon, 1996). The social learning theorists support this viewpoint. Bandura (1977) asserted that individuals tend to use the behaviour of others as paradigms for their own behaviour. Bandura reported that a sizable proportion of human learning occurs through observation and imitation. Attitudes are also learned through interaction with others holding the same attitude (Coon, 1996). Oskamp (1977) reported that other people strongly influence the formation of our attitudes. Our parents influence our early attitudes. Later on peers influence our attitudes. Oskamp concluded that both parents and peers influence attitudes through three processes; providing information, reinforcement and identification.

Parents influence attitude by administering rewards and punishments. Rewards and punishments affect the expression of attitude through the principles of operant condition just as they affect other behaviours. McGinnies (1970) argues that people engage in the behaviours for which they are rewarded, and these include the expression of particular attitudes. Furthermore, in the course of growing up we try to emulate other people we admire. That is we identify with them, and in the process of identification adopt their attitudes. The Freudian theory teaches that the parents' behaviour and attitudes to the child are the primary elements in the environment in which the child works out his adjustment (Freud, 1953 as cited in Crider, Geothals, and Kavanaugh, 1993).

Erikson (1963) noted that throughout childhood and adolescence we identify with many other people, such as relatives, celebrities or older peers in the process of forming an identity. Through this identification we adopt many attitudes. It has been identified that attitudes are also influenced by the mass media.

Attitude change

Although attitudes are relatively stable, they are subject to change. Some attitude change can be understood in terms of the concept of reference group. A reference group is one whose values and attitudes are seen by the individual as being relevant to his or her own. For example, students from conservative homes attending liberal school could shift significantly toward more liberal attitudes after some time (Coon, 1996). Another way in which an attitude is changed is through persuasion. Persuasion refers to any deliberate attempt to bring about change by the transmission of information (Crider et al. 1993; Coon, 1996). Persuasion can range from daily bombardment of media commercials to personal discussion among friends. In most cases the success or failure of attempted persuasion can be understood by considering characteristics of the communicator, the message and the authence (Coon, 1996).

Furthermore, brainwashing has been identified as a technique to change the attitude of people. Though brainwashing is temporary, it typically begins with an attempt to make the target feel completely helpless. Physical and psychological abuse, lack of sleep, humiliation, and isolation serve to unfreeze former values and beliefs. Change comes about when exhaustion, pressure, and fear become unbearable. Prisoners reach the breaking point and sign a false confession or cooperate to gain relief. When they do, they are suddenly rewarded with praise, privileges, food or rest (Coon, 1996; Denny and Davis, 1981).

If the media, friends and other group members influence people to change their attitudes then what are the attitudes of adolescents towards sex education? This must come from a study. Thus, this study attempts to find out the attitude of adolescents towards sex education.

Sex Education

Sex education simply refers to the systematic attempt to promote the healthy awareness in the individual on matters of his or her sexual development, functioning, behaviour and attitudes through direct teaching. Many are those who have called for its introduction due to the apparent havoc that irresponsible and unplanned sexual behaviour bring. Humankind cannot do without sex; it is a biological, social and psychological need, which must be satisfied. The question, however, arises: "Is it necessary to control our sexual activities and how should it be done?" The desire to have sex is innate and therefore the control of it is guided by man himself. Zelnik and Kim (1982). With effective home and school sexuality education, young people are provided the factual information they need so that they can make their sexual decisions wisely and knowledgably.

The whole issue of sex education in schools has been extremely controversial, with established religious organizations spearheading against it. Every adolescent, like every adult, is at times torn by conflict between his urges and the rules laid down by his grandmother or his superego. Many young people need help in a form of education in handling the conflict. But the question "who is best qualified to instruct the youth on such problems" is a perplexing one. Many parents are unsuccessful because of the barrier between the generations. Ministers do their best, but they reach only a minority even of those in their own congregations. Physicians understand reproduction and are qualified to discuss the dangers of pregnancy and diseases but they have no special preparation for the discussion of either psychological or moral issues.

But who, on a school or college faculty, is best qualified to instruct adolescents on the ethical problems related to sex. The scientist, as a scientist, is not directly concerned with the moral issues and usually is reluctant to tell anyone what he ought to do. The Anthropologist can discuss the varied sexual patterns in many cultures but takes pride in his ethical neutrality- he describes and categorizes behaviour but refuses to evaluate. The sociologist is familiar with prevailing patterns of behaviour in our own culture but prefers to make no moral judgment about them. The clinical psychologist has insight into the kinds of behaviour most likely to result in neurosis- producing conflicts- he can predict the consequences of behaviour and the probabilities of maladjustment- but he too, is reluctant to make moral judgments .The biologist merely describes what happens in the womb after the sexual act.

Debates of Forum for African Women Educationist have raged on what the subject should be called, how it should be taught and what should be its content (FAWE, 1995). What should be taught in sex education class? Sexual anatomy? Sexual functioning? Or contraceptive methods and use? Although most adults- and most adolescents- favour sex education in the schools, the content of such programmes is controversial, especially if they are perceived to condone or encourage teenage sexuality. A recent survey found that 93 per cent of Americans supported the teaching of sex education in high schools and 84 per cent supported its teaching in middle /junior high schools (Haffner, 1995).

There have been considerable empirical researches on adolescent sexual attitudes, behaviour and sources of sex information. Zelnik and Kim (1982) found that those who had sex education were no more likely to have premarital sex. Concerning sources of sex information to adolescents, the studies by Ramsey (1989), Thornburg (1981) and Harris and Davis (1982) are consistent with each other. A greater proportion of their information was obtained from peers, literature, parents (particularly mothers) and school (teachers). Some information was also received from experience, physicians and the church. Boys were more dependent on peers and the girls on parents for their sex information. The fathers were an insignificant source of information for both boys and girls.

In fact, adolescents reported obtaining sexual information, not from adult family members, but primarily from media, schools, and peers. In the same study, it was shown that, although some mothers and adolescent girls reported communicating about menstruation, most parental communication consisted of vague warnings not to "play" with boys or girls, without explaining what this euphemism means. Other studies coming from East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania), Nigeria, and India also confirm the same problem (Population Report, 1995). Daughters, in particular, reported stronger relationship with mothers than fathers. The fathers were an insignificant source of information for both boys and girls. Mothers are seen as more open, understanding and accepting (Offer, 1969). In their research, NoUer and Callan also found very little communication about sex between parents and adolescents, although more communication about sex did occur between mothers and daughters than between other dyads (Noller and Callan, 1991).

Many reasons can be attributed to the situation where parents cannot be said to be good sources of sex information to their wards. Fox and Inazu (1980), found from various studies in USA that, parents were either ignorant themselves, embarrassed to discuss sexual topics, afraid that knowledge will lead to experimentation or set negative example at home. This was confirmed in a study by Nicholes, Woods, Gates, and Sherman, (1987) in Liberia. They found out that parents were not only the non- preferred source of information, but also were not knowledgeable on certain issues such as safe period in the menstrual cycle, HIV/AIDS, and problems of teen-age pregnancy. Sathe (1992) observed that, parents were uncomfortable about imparting sex education to their daughters. To them, sex education should be imparted to girls only after attaining menarche. Although there is a need to educate adolescents on sex education, those parents who opposed such educational programmes did so because of the fear that imparting sex education would lead to experimentation with sex. Kodagoda (1986) found out in another study in Sri Lanka that, some mothers were reluctant to talk about sex to their daughters as they found it embarrassing to discuss these issues. Some felt their children would become smart and may experiment with sex. Another group were of the opinion that such information could be got from friends, elders sister and sister-in-laws rather than the mothers. A respondent had this to say; "My daughter is innocent, how can I talk to her about sex and menstruation? It will create a bad impression on her mind and she will keep asking me constantly about when she will start her menses" (Kodagoda 1986, p 282).

It is ironical that we educate our children so much concerning the world in which they live and so little for them and living. We glorify, in many ways, marriage, family life, motherhood and fatherhood, but we leave preparation for these responsibilities largely to chance. The most wholesome influence for moral and appropriate behaviour is, as it should be, the home and the church with which it is affiliated. Unfortunately, there has been a void in the preparation of young people for understanding that omnipresent characteristics of man- his sexuality. It is an ardent hope of the researcher that findings of this study would create the awareness parents; the school, clergymen, the state and other stakeholders would need for sex education.

METHODOLOGY

The research design chosen for the study was the descriptive sample survey which involves collecting data in order to test hypothesis(es) or answer questions concerning the current status of the subject of the study. The accessible population from which the sample was drawn comprised all form two students in eight senior high schools in the Kumasi Metropolis. Males numbered 2,865 while females were 1,526 and the sample size was 3 20. The study employed the stratified, purposive and simple random sampling techniques in selecting the sample size.

A questionnaire was used to collect the data. Kerlinger (1973) observed that the questionnaire is widely used for collecting data in educational research since it is very effective for securing factual information about practices and conditions of which the respondents are presumed to have knowledge. In each of the schools, the completed questionnaires were collected back on the same day. The data gathered for the study were scored and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies. For easy analysis, responses for strongly agree and agree and strongly disagree and disagree were collapsed to represent agreement and disagreement respectively in tables land 2.

ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF DATA

Research Question 1: Who, amongst parent, peers, teachers, church elders and siblings is in the students' opinion better placed to give sex education?

Table 1 shows that respondents were in favour of parents giving sex education. One hundred and forty- seven (46.1 %) males and 157 (49.2 %) females agreed with the statement that parents should give sex education. Only 10 (3.2 %) males and 3 (0.9 %) females disagreed that parents should not give sex education. Though parents should constitute a good source of information on sex to their adolescents, they were not able to perform as such due to what Fox and Inazu (1980) discovered. They observed that, parents were not doing any good job if, as people claim, the place of sex education was in the home. In their study in USA, Fox and Inazu (1980), for example, found that only one-third of 449 mothers had talked with their adolescent daughters about sexual intercourse or birth control. Not quite one-half had discussed menstruation and sexual maturity. Frimpong (2008) also found in his study that only 124 (38.8 %) of mothers of the respondents used were able to serve as first source of sex information to their children.

Many reasons can be attributed to the situation where parents cannot be said to be good sources of sex information to their wards. Fox and Inazu (1980), found from various studies in USA that, parents were either ignorant themselves, embarrassed to discuss sexual topics, afraid that knowledge will lead to experimentation or set negative example at home. This was confirmed in a study by Nicholes, et. al., (1987) in Liberia. They found out that parents were not only the non-preferred source of information, but also were not knowledgeable on certain issues such as safe period in the menstrual cycle, HIV/ AI DS, and problems of teen-age pregnancy.

Sathe (1992) observed that, parents were uncomfortable about imparting sex education to their daughters. To them, sex education should be imparted to girls only after attaining menar che. Although there is a need to educate adolescents on sex education, those parents who opposed such educational programmes did so because of the fear that imparting sex education would lead to experimentation with sex. Kodagoda (1986) found out in another study in Sri Lanka that, some mothers were reluctant to talk about sex to their daughters as they found it embarrassing to discuss these issues. Some felt their children would become smart and may experiment with sex. Another group were of the opinion that such information could be got from friends, elders sister and sister-in-laws rather than the mothers. A respondent had this to say; "My daughter is innocent, how can I talk to her about sex and menstruation? It will create a bad impression on her mind and she will keep asking me constantly about when she will start her menses" (Kodagoda 1986, ? 282).

Children on their part feel shy to approach parents for any information concerning their sexual lives. The implication as suggested by Fox and Inazu (1980) was that, as parents were not good sources for sex education, adolescents are likely to explore their own avenues, which to their estimation, provide credible answers to their questions. In the present study, however, respondents have indicated their agreement to parents giving them sex education. As to whether parents will not behave as just as Kodagoda (1986) found in his studies is something yet to be revealed. It was clear from the responses that more females agreed to the statement than males. This suggests that females would want to discuss sexual issues with their parents than males.

About 46 percent of the males and (48 %) female respondents agreed that teachers should be good source of sex education. The adolescents in the schools used for this study felt that, teachers could provide the needed information on sex as they do with the other subjects they teach at school. Even though sex education is not taught as a subject in Ghanaian senior high schools, certain aspects of it are taught in Biology, Social Studies and Health Science lessons at school. Hence, the students are likely to derive benefit when the subject is taught completely. This might be why students are in favour of the view that teachers were the best sources of sex information.

Doubtlessly, that 300 (94.2 %) respondents were in favour of teachers being the best sources of sex education is an encouraging signal. The findings here emphasise the role that the schools can play in educating the child about sex. Thornburg (1981) found, for example, that the schools were significant sources on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and abortion and also provided information on contraception, menstruation and seminal emissions.

Regarding the giving of sex education by church elders, it is clear from Table 1 that, respondents were in favour of the church as a source of sex education. The percentage in agreement for males was (30.4) and (32.9) for females. It is believed that the church is duty-bound to give, in addition to pastoral care, instructions and care in all spheres of life. Though respondents generally agreed that the church should give sex education, (15.3 %) were undecided and (11.3 %) males and (10.3 %) females disagreed. The combination of respondents who were uncertain and those who disagreed was quite significant. What makes these results more alarming is the fact that, the percentage that agreed was not that overwhelming compared to their responses to the other sources of sex information. The reason might be that, sex education has been tagged by the society as an abomination and since the church is a sacred and a holy place, education on sex should not be given by the church in order not to corrupt herself with the unholy teachings. To adolescents, the church remains a moral institution that discourages and opposes sex among adolescents through the sermons delivered when occasions demand them. This gives a signal as to the need for education and orientation about sex as not being an evil thing as has been considered.

Concerning siblings providing sex education, the percentages were 46.2 and 37.6 for agreement and disagreement respectively. About (19 %) respondents were uncertain. When those who were uncertain are joined to those who disagreed, their percentage is greater than those who agreed. It can be concluded that respondents were not in favour that, siblings provide education on sex. The reason may be that these siblings are not professionals who have in-depth knowledge in sex education and as such, may misinform their other siblings about what they don't know themselves. Nevertheless, siblings are almost always with their other siblings just like their parents. If the proper sex education is given to them, they can impart it to others. This would help fill the educational gap created by parents and eventually complement the effort of the school as far as sex education is concerned.

Peers, like siblings, were not seen as good sources of information on sex. Out of the 320 respondents, 168 (52.6 %) of them disagreed that peers should be a source of sex information. The percentage of disagreement was 23.8 for males and 28.8 for females. It could be seen that there is some level of confidence in males regarding peers giving sex education than females.

Though adolescents in general feel free with peers while discussing topics related to their lives than with any other person, the problems about peers being sources of sex information are misinformation, experimentation, and consequent unwanted pregnancies and induced abortion. If a good source for sex education could be provided, peer sex education will also be reduced

Two hundred and fifty- seven (80.3 %) of the total sample was of the view that medical personnel should provide sex education according to Table 1. It was clear from their responses that, they preferred medical personnel giving sex education to church elders, siblings and peers. Respondents' agreement that medical personnel should give sex education may be due to the fact that, they have realised that the medical personnel are professionals who are endowed with knowledge in sex education. It may also be that they have realised that the knowledge they have received so far were not from professionals and as such, they need them to give it this time round.

Research Question 2: To what extent do students favour the teaching of sex education in schools?

It is also evident from the Table 2 that respondents supported the idea that knowledge about their reproductive functioning should be received while in school. The percentage score for the agreement to this statement was 94.5. Only (0.9 %) disagreed and (2.5 %) of them were undecided. Table 2 also reveals that teachers could be the best source of information on sex. About 227 out of the total respondents of 320 supported this assertion. The percentage of respondents who disagreed that teacher could be the best source of information on sex was (7.0). Respondents accepted the Biology lesson on reproductive health in the school as giving enough information on sex with about 226 (71.0 %) of respondents agreeing to this statement. The last item relating to this research question sought to find out whether boys and girls should have knowledge of topics in relation to their reproductive functioning before marriage. The table depicted that 300 (93.8 %) agreed, 10 (3.1 %) disagreed and only 7 (2.2 %) were not sure on this statement. Three of the respondents did not respond to any of the options.

Regarding sex education being taught as a subject in the SHS, respondents responded in the affirmative. Though 3 (0.9 %) respondents did not respond to any of the options at all, as many as two hundred and twenty- five (79.7 %) were in agreement.

Those in the indecision group formed (6.0 %). This finding confirms that of Ansuini, Fiddler- W oitte, and Woite, (1996), which pointed to children's interest and demand for more adequate sex information, especially in the area of heterosexual relations. A survey also found that 93 percent of adolescents in American supported the teaching of sex education in high schools and 84 percent supported its teaching in middle/junior high schools (Haffher, 1995). Adolescents rate sex education as one of their most important educational needs. This was made evident in a survey conducted by Cairns, Collins and Hiebert, (1994). Probably adolescents want sex education in the schools to supplement whatever they have learnt from elsewhere in order to help promote sexual adjustment in their lives. This will help prepare them for the responsibilities and decisions they were, or will soon be making in their interpersonal relationships. At least, it could also correct the misinformation about sex, reproduction, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases that is commonly spread through the informal networks used by adolescents.

Research Question 3: In what ways can sex education be effectively promoted in our Senior High Schools?

There was a clear indication that respondents strongly agreed that sex education should be taught as a subject in the SHS. Sex education being taught as a subject was the way/ mean which had the highest frequency. It had a frequency of 108 (33.8 %) responses. The next way/ means was through counselling. The frequency was 52 (12.8 %). A few respondents, 7 (2.1 %) suggested the formation of virgin clubs in the schools. It was seen from the respondents' responses that they wanted virgin clubs to be formed in the schools.

Though this was the least preferred way, the researcher believes it would still help since adolescents who would belong to this club may feel proud to be part. Counselling would also be in the right direction because PPAG 's Annual Report (2003) indicated that, their counselling team was able to help a lot of their client regarding issues of concern to them. All these bother on education and that is why sex education at the SHS level is paramount.

Conclusion

The research revealed a number of findings in respect of the adolescents' opinions about the sexual issues involved in their growth to adulthood. Respondents have indicated clearly through this study that, they support the teaching of sex education in the schools. Not only that but also, that sex education should be made part of the Senior Secondary school curriculum. It was again revealed through the study that sex education can be improved in the senior secondary schools by establishing counselling centres and also forming virgin clubs among others in the schools.

Recommendations

Following the research findings and conclusions, the following recommendations are been made:

1. The Ministry of Education should organize a conscientisation programme for the churches to enable them wholly accept as a call and duty the education of adolescents about their reproductive health.

2. The Ministry of Education in collaboration with Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) and other bodies that are interested in educating the adolescents should intensify sex education in the schools by organizing seminars, symposia and workshops.

3. Counselling centres and virgin clubs should be established in the schools. Virgin clubs should be formed in the schools where those who are members would serve as role models for others. Counsellors in the various schools should also educate students on population and reproductive health issues.

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Author affiliation:

Samuel Oppong Frimpong

Department of Psychology and Education

University of Education Winneba, Winneba

Ghana.

Author affiliation:

* Email/Mobile phone: reprods@yahoo.co.uk/233-24-2101523

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