Senate passes bill to mandate teaching of sexual, gender-based violence in schools

The Senate has passed a bill seeking to mandate authorities of secondary schools to include lessons on how to prevent sexual and gender-based violence in their curriculum for students.

The bill was sponsored by the Senate Leader, Ibrahim Gobir, and titled “Mandatory Inclusion of Preventive Measures on Sexual and Gender Based Violence into the Curriculum of all levels of Secondary Schools in Nigeria Bill, 2023.”

It was passed at the plenary presided over by the Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege, on Wednesday.

Leading debate on the bill, Mr Gobir said compulsory inclusion of the SGBV in school curriculum will expose secondary students to dangers involved in committing the act.

He also said making such mandatory would curb the rising occurrence of SGBV and will further address child protection rights and related issues such as sexual violence, rape and harassment.

“It is cost-effective, timely and sustainable. Like it is said, ‘a stitch in time saves nine.’ The bill, when enacted, will tackle the prevalent issues of the SGBV and will further address child protection rights and related issues such as sexual violence, rape and harassment.

“To reduce cases of the SGBV and its related offence, experts have mentioned that individuals, groups and systematic interventions should be implemented in schools and must include students, teachers, administrators and parents’ participation.

“This is one of the systematic approaches to tackling this issue by early intervention by catching them young with this enlightenment which will also put our children on their toes to detect the red flags and be on guard. This will also avail them the opportunity to referral pathways for reportage.

“The goal is to have at least 80 per cent of all the participating students achieving satisfactory knowledge within 12 months of the rollout to each cohort. When they learn, they will pass to their siblings, friends and generations. This is a more sustainable systematic approach to solving this problem.”

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