OSHAKATI – Learners attending a teenage pregnancy workshop have called on the education authorities to consider the introduction of single sex schools as an effective way to reduce teenage pregnancies and so called peer pressure among learners.
“Single sex schools are a good idea, because it takes a lot of pressure off the kids, so they can concentrate on their schoolwork,” said Martha Nekwaya, a Grade 11 learner at the Shaanika Nashilongo Secondary School.
“However, because there has been a resurgence of single sex schools in the public sector, it was deemed appropriate to conduct a systematic review of single sex education research,” she said and her view was supported by other learners attending the workshop.
Speaking on the sidelines of the workshop, Nekwaya said the environment girls face is much more sexualised today than it was in their parents’ days.
“When enrolled in mixed sex schools, children cannot concentrate on their school work and grades, without having to confront peer pressure.” she said. According to her, adolescent girls who become pregnant are more likely to believe in sexual stereotypes of how girls and boys are supposed to behave. They usually have low self-esteem and are not academic achievers, according to her.
A boy in Grade 11 from the Neumbo Secondary School in the Omusati Region, Nanguti Paulus, agreed with the proposal, adding that schools are very much geared towards the way girls learn, which promotes real disadvantages for boys.
He added that girls often learn better by talking about issues, while boys need to do things to understand them.
Paulus explained that single sex schools will help both boys and girls to excel, since subjects such as mathematics and science that are often considered male subjects can also be taught in girls-only schools without any impediments such as the existing stereotypes.
“The boys are just focused on getting the hot girls’ attention and the girls are focused on which guy is hotter and how to get the hotter guy before her friends. Hormones cause great distraction. School is for leaning, not for making out or for sex and having boyfriends or girlfriends,” most of the learners agreed.
During the teenage years hormonal changes in the body can result in confusion for both boys and girls and combined with a poor learning environment it can result in a loss of concentration when studying.
Single sex schools have become fewer over the years, especially since independence. Only the Waldfrieden RC Primary School, Seuns Primary School for boys in Windhoek and Eros Girls School are still operational.
However, some of the learners disagreed saying that there are two sexes on this planet and even if you separate them in school, you can’t separate them in life. “This is almost as bad as segregating schools between white and black learners,” said a learner speaking on condition of anonymity.
New Era, Namibia, 3 oct 2011