The Kenyan episcopate is protesting against the measure aimed at introducing sex education in schools from the start of the secondary cycle – around the age of 14 – a measure introduced “by stealth” and which, the bishops point out, could lead to an increase in abortions.
“The mischievous and behind-the-scenes introduction of the General Sex Education (CSE) defies the narrative sold to Kenyans that the Competency Based Curriculum is based on values and [that] education given would be age appropriate,” lamented Bishop Paul Kariuki Njiru, Chairman of the Religious Education at the Kenya Conference of Bishops, in a statement released August 15, 2023.
The measure was suddenly announced by the Kenyan government and follows the conclusions of the commission of forty-two people set up by the executive in order, officially, to allow the country to reform the education system by shortening the primary school cycle and adding teaching modules.
The episcopate notably points a finger at entire sections of the future program which, if applied, would confront pupils from the start of adolescence with the themes encouraged by family planning, including abortion and contraception.
For their part, the NGOs present in the country make no secret of wanting to align Kenya with the standards of so-called “developed” countries. The country is currently ranked third in the world for teenage pregnancies.
An inadmissible program for the bishops, and which is moreover contrary to the policy implemented by the Ministry of Education which prohibits any proposal of suggestive content to children.
Moreover, “the new content does not even evoke the abstinence that one is entitled to expect from young people, and is more likely to disturb them,” warn the Kenyan prelates who are alarmed by a rise in the “sexualization of the learning environment” which could lead to “a spike in teenage pregnancies and abortions.”
Finally, the Kenya Conference of Bishops calls on parents to remain “vigilant” in the education given to their children, and encourages teachers to show courage by removing controversial sections from future textbooks.
The episcopate's fears are not unfounded. For the record, in November 2021, the Kenyan executive committed to the “FP 2030” program which plans to allow access to contraception for 64 % of married women, to reduce teenage pregnancies from 14 to 10%, and to introduce gender ideology in order to “break down socio-cultural barriers” in society.