Too young … Teachers blocking plans to avail condoms to pupils
TEACHERS have rejected a proposal to distribute condoms in schools as a way helping fight the spread of HIV and AIDS.
The Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA) said the proposal, made recently by the National Aids Council (NAC), was unacceptable and unworkable.
“You can’t introduce condoms in schools; there is no way we can allow 10 to 12 year- olds to have sex,” Zimta chief executive, Sifiso Ndlovu said at the association’s annual conference in Bulawayo.
“These kids don’t know much about their bodies yet and you want to confuse them further by allowing them to engage in sex.”
The NAC recently said it would propose various legislative amendments to enable teachers to distribute condoms in schools and help curb the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The practice is already underway in neighbouring South Africa where children who are 12 years and above have the right to access condoms under the country’s Children’s Act of 2007.
However, Ndlovu said Zimta members rejected the proposal outright.
“As educationists there is no way we can allow the distribution of condoms in schools. This will confuse the mental and physical development of our children,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s epidemic was one of the biggest in the world until the number of people infected almost halved, from 29% to 16%, between 1997 and 2007.
Researchers attributed the huge decline to changes in people’s sexual behaviour because of improved public awareness of AIDS deaths and a subsequent fear of contracting the virus.
Other important factors included the influence of education programmes that helped shift people’s attitudes regarding multiple concurrent sexual partners in extramarital, commercial and casual relations which increased the acceptability of condom use.