Implementation of a sex education course in education in Benin
Benin has been struggling with a growing number of teenage pregnancies for years. The morale of young people has been weakened by social media, among other things. This has led the government to take action. In primary and secondary education, sex education is interwoven with the existing curriculum by the Beninese themselves: a good example of integrated education!
Since 2015, CINOP, together with the Rutgers Foundation and Le Grand Cru dance (organisation for intercultural dance and coaching), has been carrying out a NICHE project awarded by NUFFIC for teacher training and pedagogical academies. One of the subprojects was the development of a sex education course. This makes the students familiar with this theme and with the way in which they pass it on to the students.
The project is innovative, not only because of the theme but also because of the approach. The cooperation with the Dutch and Beninese partners has led to an interactive offer of theories and technical knowledge. This is deepened and complemented by practical assignments and physical execution forms (embodiments).
Despite all kinds of hurdles during the process from sketch to implementation, this project is a textbook example of a successful innovation. The following steps have been taken:
A development group is composed of representatives of all ENI (pedagogical academies) and ENS (teacher training courses). Together with them, the design of the sexual education course (ECS, Education Complète à la sexité) was made, in which respectful interaction with each other was central.
- The course was checked by the Beninese for suitability within their social and emotional context.
- The concepts were presented to all relevant stakeholders.
- The group of teachers who will carry out this curriculum is trained: part directly and part through train-the-trainer workshops. At the end of these workshops, the whole group had mastered – the didactically often cross-border exercises – and the embarrassment of discussing the subject had disappeared.
- The directors of all the institutions met to be informed about the course and to write an implementation plan.
- An important step was the validation of the course by the responsible ministries, making it a compulsory part of the curriculum.
- Over the past few months, all the institutions have been running a pilot project.
At this moment the evaluation of the pilot will start: the group will discuss with each other on the basis of an extensive questionnaire how it went. Their findings will lead to an action list to address the final points. The launch will take place in September 2019 and the teachers will be able to start well prepared for institutions that know exactly what to expect.