Ministry moves on "family life education"

The Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture is moving to make Health and Physical Education (H.P.E) compulsory to help students overcome educational challenges.

 A key part of the plan was discussed during consultations at Taumeasina Resort on Thursday and Friday, hosted by M.E.S.C. and the United Nations Fund Population Association (U.N.F.P.A).  The theme of the discussions was “family life education.”

Consultant and programme facilitator, Gatoloai Tili Afamasaga, said H.P.E is optional in schools but it should be made compulsory.

“We’ve done a lot of investigations into the issue of making this (particular) subject optional and the problems that arose from it is students dropping out of schools, bullying and unwanted pregnancy,” she said. “So they found some gaps in the curriculum and we’re discussing ways to solve these issues.”

The family life education programme will be integrated with H.P.E if things work out, she added.

Reverend Brenda Reed Moenoa, who involved in writing up the curriculum for schools in health and nutrition, said one of the issues Samoan parents and students struggle with is discussing reproductive system issues.

“Sometimes, our people are resistant of the topic about sexual reproduction and talking about the body and all of those things but people will always have that in their minds," she said. 

"I really want to say is that this is all part of health. Part of your health is that you need to know what changes happen to the body from when you’re a child and growing up.

“Because family life education is looking specifically at certain areas of the child and the aspects of the reproductive health and all that. One of the things that I was interested in because my background is in health and nutrition, I was one of the writers of this subject called Health and P.E (Physical Education).

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