Participants at a High-Level Dissemination Meeting on the Short and Intermediate-Term Outcomes of FLHE Implementation in Lagos State on Tuesday.

Family life, HIV education transformed students, says Lagos govt.

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By Oluwafunke Ishola

The Lagos State Government says integrating Family Life and HIV Education (FLHE) into the state’s education curriculum has transformed the lives of the students.

The state Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr Jamiu Alli-Balogun, said this during a High-Level Dissemination Meeting on the Short and Intermediate-Term Outcomes of FLHE Implementation in Lagos State on Tuesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was organised by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and Action Health Incorporated (AHI).

Alli-Balogun said that FLHE had empowered students with knowledge and skills necessary to make informed decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health issues.

According to him, Lagos localised the national curriculum and adopted FLHE into its scheme of work in Basic Science, Social Studies and Civic Education, among other subjects for easy dissemination to students.

“Our commitment to the well-being and holistic development of students extends beyond the walls of the classroom to encompass the fundamental values of knowledge, compassion, and resilience,” he said.

Alli-Balogun, represented by Mrs Omolayo Akinlade, Director, Education Resource Centre, acknowledged the ongoing challenges and complexity inherent in addressing HIV/AIDS and promoting family life education.

He, however, said that the state remains steadfast in its commitment to providing comprehensive and age appropriate education to all students, ensuring that no child is left behind.

Also, Mr Abdourahamane Diallo, Head of Office, UNESCO Nigeria, said that FLHE was approved by the National Council on Education (NCE) in 2004.

Diallo said that trained teachers had been mainstreaming content of the curriculum into career subjects with the support of implementing partners since it was approved.

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“We have provided support recently to the Lagos State Ministry of Education through our o3 project over the years.

“The support included capacity building for teachers, data managers, parents, Civil Society Organisations and teachers training institutions,” he said.

He said that globally, measurement frameworks for Education for Health and Wellbeing (FLHE in Nigeria) tend to have a continued focus on sexual, behavioural and population-level health outcomes.

“For example, rates of unintended pregnancies, HIV or STI incidence, school dropout or continuation, and child marriage.

“There is a growing sense that this narrow focus fails to provide evidence for the broader potential of Education for Health and Wellbeing.

“Like how, or to what extent, national programmes influence outcomes related to learners’ social and emotional life skills, or knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, and values around gender, and healthy or equitable interpersonal relationships, human rights, or healthy sexuality,” he said.

Diallo said to address these evidence gaps and gain a more holistic understanding of the impact of Education for Health and Wellbeing (EHW), UNESCO in 2022, inaugurated The Torchlight Collective.

The project was to conduct a mixed methods study on short and intermediate term outcomes of national programmes in six countries – Argentina (Buenos Aires), Armenia, Jamaica, Laos, Namibia and Nigeria (Lagos).

Diallo said that Lagos being a role-model to other states was used for the pilot study as it shows the best case scenario for Nigeria.

He commended Lagos state for hosting and supporting the conduct of the study in her schools.

According to him, the project centres on education for life skills, family life, health, sexuality and relationships.

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“Specifically, the study focused on outcomes related to healthy relationships between adolescents and parents, peers and romantic partners.

“In addition, the study also set out to capture the factors that may contribute to an enabling environment for high-quality EHW,” he said.

He noted that dissemination of the findings of the study was to get input from local stakeholders as well as engender the required ownership of the report and consequent address of recommendations of the report.

“This will also inform action to strengthen the FLHE in Nigeria,” he said.

Also, Mrs Adenike Essiet, Co-founder, AHI, said that for over 35 years, AHI had been committed to promote the health, and well-being of young people, especially catalysing opportunities for their access to FLHE.

Essiet said that as implementing partner for UNESCO’s FLHE programme in Lagos, it partnered with Education District IV to carry out the study in schools in the district.

She noted that insights and lessons from the study would help learn on things to do, implementation fast tracked, and improved solutions for young people in the country. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma

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