1.1    Background of the Study

For many years the situation has been that many teenagers would gain initial information about sexuality and related issues from other misinformed youngsters who did not know much themselves. Sex education is the total expression of which we are as human beings; it encompasses our whole psychological development and our entire self-concept. It is also the process of acquiring information and forming attitudes and beliefs of sex, sexual identity, relationship and intimacy. It develops our reproductive health, interpersonal relationship, affections, body image and gender roles. (National Guidelines Task Force, 1996).

Adolescence is the process of gradual transition from childhood to adulthood in which the individual’s psychological and physiological process develops. The wellbeing of the adolescent is of great importance (Adeyemo 2001) they need to be informed and guided toward developing positive attitudes on Sexuality. Unfortunately parents who ought to provide the primary sex education to their young ones and communicate to them specific value about sex play the least role as a source of accurate information on sexual matters. (Ogwu, 2001).

The schools, since is the only institution which reaches all children over a prolonged period of time has both a challenging opportunity and obligation to contribute their knowledge and understanding of the roles both sexes play, as well as to correct the distorted view of life receive from cultural beliefs and moral laws. In almost every society, pre-marital sexual relationship is taboo, open discussions are suppressed. Consequently, adolescent has to struggle to ensure that his or her behaviour is not at variance with the norms, values and ideas of the society. (Adunola, 2005)

Since taboos are imposed on sexual matters by culture and religion, Secondary school students find it difficult to express their sexual affection to their parents. This creates some problems among adolescents as far as understanding sexual matters are concerned. Adunola (2005) cited anthropological evidence which shows that individuals in societies which place enormous restraint on their desires to gratify their sexual drives are more susceptible to behavioural problems than those in permissive societies. One would therefore expect to find more deviant sexual problems in rural communities than in the urban centres. But the reverse seems to be the case.

Newton (1993) stated how the incidences of increased rape, prostitution, sexual promiscuity and homosexual practices in Nigeria society have reached alarming proportions. Most adolescent engage in heterosexual activities which often result in pregnancy and sometimes abortion. Such abortion may lead to death. The unwanted pregnancy may lead to severe disturbances which can affect the adolescents concentration, coping abilities and interpersonal relationship.

Newton also maintained that  lack of sex education makes many adolescents engage in sexual relationship which do not only affect inter personal relationship but could result in some sexually transmitted Infections (STI) including Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). These disease conditions may make the adolescents vectors, or lead them to untimely death. Adolescent sexual activities if not controlled could also lead to pregnancy among immature girls, hence resulting in Vesico Vaginal Fistilae (V.V.F) (Abdullahi, 2003).

Such victims may face expulsion from school which may terminate their school career and most of them may indulge in other social vices in the society such as drug abuse, drunkenness and theft which are part of the society ills today. Viewing these problems the adolescent is going through as a result of improper sex education. (Abdullahi, 2003).

Onyebuchi (1998) as cited by Njoku, (2003) stated that youths are likely to run into serious social and health hazards including teenage pregnancies, abortion, veneral diseases, disruption of education and social stigma. There seems to exist an obvious need for sex education for the youths in order to live sexual life which is of modest, restraints and relatively safe (Njoku, 2003).

Akingba and Gbajumo (1970), Ehinmowo (1981), Wgwu (1985) as well as Adegboyga and Fabiyi, 1994) were of the opinions that the teaching of sex education should be institutionalized at the secondary school level. Their recommendations according to them were based on the fact that there was a high involvement of adolescents in sexual activities and that this development had made them much more vulnerable to the killer disease ably referred to as hydra-headed afflicted (HIV/AIDS).

Fabiyi (1995) contended that recommendation by experts may not be enough. Sex education according to him must be accepted by students  as an appropriate subject to be taught in schools if a successful sex education programme is to be introduced in secondary schools. Oikeh (1981) blamed emotional rather than logical approaches to the evaluation of the need for the teaching of sex education, for the controversy that has inundated the institutionalization of the programmed in most parts of the world.

According to Moore, Rosenthal and Mitchell (1996:76), in spite of high levels of knowledge, young people do not appear to be applying that knowledge to their sexual behavior. The alarming rate of teenage pregnancies, STD infections and HIV infections are debilitating factors to the growth of the community, our young people and to their future. This study will focus on understanding the attitudes of secondary school students towards sex education.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Nigeria today is witnessing, an alarming rate of increase in problems associated with adolescent sexual development among these problems are sexual perversions like homosexuality, lesbianism, rape, prostitution and sexual harassment. Incidences of unwanted pregnancies that call for induced abortion, high mortality rate among our girls, premature pregnancy resulting in Vesico Virginal Fistula. Despite the efforts made by school administrators and tutors to educate students on sex education, there has not been any significant evidence as to the attitude and knowledge levels of students on sex and sexual practices amongst them. This study therefore focuses on the personal variables and attitude to sex education of secondary school students in Ikono LGA, it ascertains whether the students in Ikono LGA are in support of the teaching of sex education in secondary schools.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

The study sought to investigate the personal variables and attitude towards sex education of secondary school students in Ikono LGA. Specifically, the study sought to;

1.  examine the relationship between personal variables and attitude and sex education of secondary school students in Ikono LGA.

2.  examine the influence of personal variables to sex education of secondary school students in Ikono LGA.

3.  examine the influence of students’ attitude to sex education in secondary school in Ikono LGA.

4.  determine the level of knowledge of students on sex education in secondary schools.

1.4       Research Questions

1.  What is the relationship between personal variables and attitude and sex education of secondary school students in Ikono LGA?

2.  What is the influence of personal variables to sex education of secondary school students in Ikono LGA?

3.  What is the influence of students’ attitude to sex education in secondary school in Ikono LGA?

4.  What is the level of knowledge of students on sex education in secondary schools?

1.5       Research Hypotheses

Ho1:     There is no relationship between personal variables and attitude and sex education of secondary school students in Ikono LGA.

Ho2:     Personal variables has no influence on sex education of secondary school students in Ikono LGA

Ho3:     Students’ attitude does not influence sex education in secondary school in Ikono LGA.

Ho4:     The level of knowledge of students on sex education in secondary schools is low.

1.6       Significance of the Study

Throughout human history, sexuality has also been perceived as a threat to people’s health: untreatable STIs and unintended pregnancies were almost always grave risks associated with sexual encounters. Sexuality education thus fulfills this highly needed function of sexual health promotion.

This study will primarily serve as a baseline survey for further research on sexual education and health. This study is also imperative for adolescent boys and girls as it will aid them to have access to sexual health information, make informed decision that will guarantee them a reputable future and acquire life skills to deal with sexuality and relationships in a satisfactory and responsible manner.

Religious organizations, policy makers, educators, parents and community/opinion leaders will find recommendations from this study useful as it will guide them in formulating effective policies in favour of sex education in schools, intensify campaigns on the need to include sex education in school curriculums, debunk any myths and misconceptions concerning sex education in schools in African societies and facilitate equitable access to sexual and reproductive health education. Sexual and reproductive health is nowadays also highly valued at the global level. Three of the eight internationally accepted Millennium Development Goals (MDG 3 on gender equality, MDG 5 on maternal health, and MDG 6 which includes HIV/AIDS) are directly related to it.

Hence, this study will also serve as a panacea to the attainment of these universal development goals. Information generated from this study will be informative to the government, non-government and the public health system in planning and implementation of sustainable sex education programs in schools.

1.7       Scope/Limitations of the Study

This study is on personal variables and attitude to sex education of secondary school students using Ikono Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria as a case study.

Limitations of study

1.  Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of information collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

2.  Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

1.8       Definition of Terms

Personal: Belonging to or affecting a particular person rather than anyone else.

Variables: A variable is any factor, trait, or condition that can exist in differing amounts or types.

Attitude: Attitudes have generally been regarded as either mental readiness or implicit predispositions, which create an influence over a large class of evaluative responses. These responses are usually directed towards some object, person or group. In addition, attitudes are seen as enduring predispositions, which are learned rather than innate.

Sex Education: Sex education is the instruction of issues relating to human sexuality, including emotional relations and responsibilities, human sexual anatomy, sexual activity, sexual reproduction, age of consent, reproductive health, reproductive rights, safe sex, birth control and sexual abstinence.

Students: A student is primarily a person enrolled in a school or other educational institution who attends classes in a course to attain the appropriate level of mastery of a subject under the guidance of an instructor and who devotes time outside class to do whatever activities the instructor assigns that are necessary either for class preparation or to submit evidence of progress towards that mastery. In the broader sense, a student is anyone who applies themselves to the intensive intellectual engagement with some matter necessary to master it as part of some practical affair in which such mastery is basic or decisive.

Secondary School: A secondary school is both an organization that provides secondary education and the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools can provide both lower secondary education and upper secondary education.