Students' perception of sex education in public secondary schools of Kikuyu division, Kiambu district, Kenya
The controversy surrounding the teaching of sex education has ranged the world over, with different schools of thought imposing their attitudes and perception towards sex and the teaching of the same with little if any consideration of the views and needs of youth in dynamic society. This dynamism has propagated divergent perception ranging from reactionary to liberal thought. Consequently, the youth have been left at crossroads regarding issues of sexuality with no choice but to scavenge for information on sex from their peers, graffiti, the media and other sources, as others rather than themselves debate their fate. It is in this light that this study investigated students' perception of sex education in Kikuyu Division. Particularly, the study sought to establish the extent to which students in secondary schools were exposed to sex education, the extent to which students in secondary schools considered the teaching of sex education appropriate. Additionally it sought to identify students' sources of knowledge in sex education, the perceptions of sex education held by students from various socio-cultural backgrounds and finally assess if boys and girls differed in their perception of sex education The literature reviewed gave remarkable insights into the concept of perception. In addition, sexuality was 'presented as a factor affecting all area of life including relationships and academic performance. Signals got from external stimuli on sexuality and sex education were also presented as a factor that influenced and coloured perception through out life, leading to certain behaviour more so III adolescence. A sample of 360 students, was utilized in the study. Three methods of selecting the sample were used. These were stratified, purposive and simple random sampling. The research instrument employed for the study was a students' questionnaires. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used for analysis of data obtained. In particular, descriptive statistics used included frequencies, percentages and means while the inferential statistic used was the t-test. From the findings, it was revealed that :students were not adequately exposed to an organized school based sex education and that though some aspects of sex education were being taught in carrier subjects, like biology and SEE, the students got the bulk of sex information from other sources apart from the school. Additionally, peers and media were identified as the most popular source of sex information, in comparison to parents, church and teachers. Moreover, married teachers of 30 to 40 years of age were ranked highest in a list of the preferred sex educators. It was also established that school based sex education was regarded appropriate by an overwhelming majority of the students. Moreover, it was noted that different socio-cultural backgrounds and gender difference were not responsible for difference in perception, towards of sex education In view of the above, certain recommendations were made based on the findings of the study. Among them were: 1. A review of the existing sex education curriculum should be done to ensure relevance to students in a dynamic society. 2. A component of life skills be incorporated in the school curriculum to approach to empower the youth in having a positive perception towards their sexuality Finally, the researcher presented some suggestions for further study among them were: An investigation on the perception of pupils in primary schools to the teaching of sex education needs to be carried out. An evaluation of the existing sex education curriculum in terms of content and methodology needs to be carried out. An investigation into 'the possibility of a life skills approach toward the teaching of sex education in schools.