The study investigated the level of knowledge of sex education among in-school adolescents in Benin City looking at the influences which gender, class level and school-type whether single sex school or mixed sex school has on the level of knowledge of sex education. Cross sectional survey research design was adopted to study 120 students who were selected to represent the population which comprise all in- school adolescents in Benin City. A self-developed questionnaire was used to collect data from 120 student of which 58 were males while 62 were females. The data was analyzed using percentages and frequency count and also modified Okafor’s (1997) criteria for describing level of knowledge of sex education was adopted. The conclusion of the study is that the level of knowledge of sex education among in-school adolescents in Benin City was high, with gender and school type whether single or mixed school having no influence on the level of knowledge of sex education, and with class level influencing significantly the level of knowledge of sex education.


Cover Page    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    i

Title page    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    ii   

Certification    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    iii   

Dedication    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    iv

Acknowledgement    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    v

Abstract        -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    vi

Table of Content     -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    vii   


Background to the study    -    -    -    -    -    -    1

Statement of Problems     -    -    -    -    -    -    -    6

Purpose of the Study    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    7   

Significance of the Study    -    -    -    -    -    -    8   

Research Questions    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    8

Delimitation of the Study    -    -    -    -    -    --    9

Limitation of the Study    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    9

Definition of Terms    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    10   


Concept of Sex Education.    -    -    -    -    -    -    12

Aims and Objectives of Sex Education.    -    -    -    -    17

Principles of Sex Education.    -    -    -    -    -    -    22

Characteristics of Sex Education.    -    -    -    -    -    23

Sources of Sex Education.    -    -    -    -    -    -    24

Skills Developed by Sex Education.    -    -    -    -    26

Attitudes and Beliefs Formed by Sex Education.    -    -    27

Information Given by Sex Education.    -    -    -    -    28

Approaches to Sex Education.    -    -    -    -    -    30

Why Sex Education in School is Important.    -    -    -    38

Why sex Education in National Curriculum Matters.    -    39

Why Sex Education Should not be Left to Parents.    -    -    41

Effective School-Based Sex Education.    -    -    -    -    43

Barriers to Providing sex Education.    -    -    -    -    45


Research Design    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    48

Population of the Study    -    -    -    -    -    -    48

Sample and Sampling Techniques    -    -    -    -    -    49   

Instrumentation    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    50   

Validation of Instrument    -    -    -    -    -    -    50   

Reliability of Instrument    -    -    -    -    -    -    50   

Administration    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    51   

Method of Data Analysis    -    -    -    -    -    -    51  


Result    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    53

Discussions    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    57   


Summary    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    63   

Conclusion    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    65   

Recommendations    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    66   

REFERENCES    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    67   

APPENDIX:     -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    74




The advancement witness in the world today in education, technology, communication, agriculture, population growth as well as in urbanization cannot be all round blessings as it has its own disadvantages. This confirms the popular saying that ‘‘whatever has an advantage has a disadvantage.’’ Such trend of advancement in areas like technology, transportation, trade, labour and capital mobility, global media and financial system among others according to Tejvan (2013) are factors which have caused globalization.

One dimension of globalization argued by Steger (2009) is cultural globalization which according to Wikipedia refers to the transmission of ideas, meanings and values around the world in such a way as to extend and intensify social relations. In other words, cultural globalization brings about cultural integration and interdependence which implies that no nation can be indifferent to any other. For us here in Nigeria this is crystal clear as it can be seen in our dressing, greeting, language as well as its negative effects such as decline in religious scruples and the deterioration of moral standards which has led to a state that can best be describe as cultural disintegration.

Few decades ago, virginity of a girl until she is married was rewarded and various taboos were created around premarital sex. This trend has gradually changed as the incidence of adolescents and youth engaging in sexual intercourse is high and may constitute a problem (Isiugo-Abanihe, 1993). This behaviour as opined by Isiugo-Abanihe (1993) is prevalent among students of secondary schools and higher institutions of learning in Nigeria and may be due to various customs and observances as well as other factors such as family background, peer pressure, media influences, globalization, economic situations and education background of parents (Akinleye&Oniogade,1998). This is not to say that our culture before the globalization movement was without shortcomings.

Traditionally, adolescents in most of our culture were not given any information on sexual matters, with discussion of such issues being considered as taboo. Such instructions as were given were traditionally left to a child’s parents and often this was put aside until just before a child’s marriage. Most of the information adolescents have on sexual matters were obtained informally due to the above scenario from friends and media much of which are highly deficient especially during the period following puberty when curiosity of sexual matter is most acute. This curiosity becomes increasingly evident by the increasing incidence of teenage pregnancy, abortion and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among adolescents and youth. School desertion is one consequence of teenage pregnancy which according to Montenegro (2000) jeopardizes the education and training of the teenager which in turn perpetuates the cycle of poverty. This is perhaps why Lingram (2003) noted that adolescents are considered to be in a state of crisis.

Most adolescents are at high risk in one or more self-destructive behaviour such as unsafe sex, experimentation in sex, failure or dropping out of school due to teenage pregnancy and childbearing. Some of the behaviour according to Igbokwe (2012) could be sometimes attributed to lack of basic education concerning sex and sexuality thereby making the knowledge of sex education imperative.

Although formal sex education have been introduced by many countries to be taught as a full course as part of the curriculum in secondary schools as efforts to ameliorate problems associated with sexuality, it is partially taught as only one unit within a more comprehensive school subject such as Biology, Home economics, Health science or Physical and health education in Nigeria. This to a large extent has an impact on the sexuality knowledge of in-school adolescents.

Sex education is very important to adolescents and our secondary schools is the place where young boys and girls are trained both in character and in learning (Herman, 1999) but suffice is to say that sex, abortion, teenage pregnancy and other juvenile delinquency have made the above objective unrealistic considering the likelihood that adolescents in secondary schools in Benin City may not be an exception.

It is against this background that it becomes important to ascertain the knowledge of in-school adolescents in Benin City.


    The problem associated with lack of inadequate knowledge on sex and sexuality matters are enormous which are evidently obvious in the incidence of teenage pregnancy, abortion among adolescents, sexually transmitted infection (STIs), school desertion caused by unwanted pregnancy, poverty perpetuation due to jeopardy of education which results from pregnancy, child abuse and neglect, child battering, child mortality and maternal deprivation frequent among offspring of teenage parents among others.

    Some if not all of the above problems to some extent is caused by the lack of skill to negotiate safe sexual practices since the involvement of adolescents both boys and girls in sexual relationship is no longer new and this perhaps why Owie (2005) stated that the issue of boy and girl relationship such as dating, courting and choice of future partners should be critically addressed.


    The purpose of this study is to ascertain the level of sex education knowledge of the in-school adolescents In Benin City with the following objectives:

1.    To ascertain the level of sex education knowledge among in-school adolescents in Benin City.

2.    To ascertain if gender have an influence in the level of sex education knowledge.

3.    To ascertain if class-in-school have an influence in the level of sex education knowledge.

4.    To ascertain in school-type whether single sex school or mixed sex school have an influence in the level of sex education knowledge.


The study will benefit the following

1.    Health education intervention planners since the level of sex education knowledge when ascertained will serve as a starting point for a comprehensive sex education.

2.    Curriculum planners in the inclusion of sex education in the curriculum and the level of embassy that will be given to it.


In the bid to accomplish the stated objectives of the study, the following research questions is posed

1.    What is the level of sex education knowledge among in-school adolescents in Benin City?

2.    What is the influence of gender on the level of sex education knowledge among in-school adolescents in Benin City?

3.    What is the influence of class-in-school on the level of sex education knowledge among in-school adolescents in Benin City?

4.    What is the influence of school-type on the level of sex education knowledge among in-school adolescents in Benin City?


Due to the lack of time and resources, the study is delimited to selected secondary schools, located in Oredo local government area in Benin City, Edo state, Nigeria.


Lack of time and finance is a major limitation as this prevents the researcher from reaching the defined population. Another limitation is lack of current literature on this topic.


1.    SEX EDUCATION: sex education also referred to as sexuality education or sex and relationship education is defined as a process of exposing an individual to positive and negative sexual habits and characteristics in order for the individual to live safe and healthy sexual life with basic knowledge as a major intervening factor (Igbokwe, 2012). It is simply the modification of people’s sexual behaviours and attitude through the dissemination of healthful sex instruction and information.

2.    KNOWLEDGE: Knowledge means being well informed and skilled with regard to a particular concept.

3.    ADOLESCENT: An adolescent is a person in the stage of adolescence.

4.    ADOLESCENCE: Adolescence is a stage in life between childhood and adulthood usually between age 12 to 20 years depending on environmental and cultural factors.



    In this chapter, literature pertinent to this study will be reviewed under the following subheadings:

1.    Concept of sex education.

2.    Aims and objectives of sex education.

3.    Principles of sex education.

4.    Characteristics of sex education.

5.    Sources of sex education.

6.    Skills developed by sex education.

7.    Attitudes and beliefs formed by sex education.

8.    Information given by sex education.

9.    Approaches to sex education.

10.    Why sex education in school is important.

11.    Why sex education in national curriculum matters.

12.    Why sex education should not be left to parents.

13.    Effective school-based sex education.

14.    Barriers to providing sex education.


    Sex education also called Sexuality education, Sex and relationship education (SRE) or informally as “Sex edu” is the instruction on issues relating to human sexuality, including human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual activity or intercourse, sexual behaviour, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, sexual abstinence, birth control as well as other aspects of sexuality such as body image, sexual orientation, dating and relationships.

    Burt (2009) defines sex education as the study of the characteristics of beings: a male and female; such characteristics make up the person’s sexuality. Sexuality is an important aspect of the life of human beings and almost every one including children wants to know about it. He further explained that sex education stands for protection, presentation extension, improvement and development of the family based on accepted ethical ideas. [a]

    Leopson (2002) defines sex education as instructions in various physiological, psychological and sociological aspects of sexual response and reproduction.[b]

Briggs (2001) defines sex education as a comprehensive program on sex knowledge, behaviour and attitude extending from infancy to maturity planned and executed to produce socially and morally desirable attitude, practice and personal behaviour. It is a lifelong process which provides young people with the knowledge, understanding and skills to develop positive attitude towards sexuality, to take care of their sexual health and to enhance their interpersonal relationships now and in the future.

Kearney (2008) also defines sex education as involving a comprehensive course of action by the school, calculated to bring about the socially desirable attitudes, practices and personal conduct on the part of children and adult, that will best protect the individual as a human and the family as a social institution. He explained further that sex education encompasses education about all aspects of sexuality including information about family planning, reproduction (fertilization, contraception and development of embryo and foetus, through to child birth), plus information about all aspects of one’s sexuality including body image, sexual orientation, sexual pleasure, values, decision making, communication, dating, relationships, sexual transmitted infections (STIs) and how to avoid them, and birth control methods.[c]

Sex education is also defined as a process of acquiring information and forming attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual identity, relationships and intimacy. It is also about developing young people’s skills so that they can make informed choices about their behaviour and feel confident and competent about acting on their choices (Avert, 2014).

Slyer (2000) stated that sex education teaches young people what he or she should know for his or her personal conduct and relationship with others. [d] Although it is widely accepted that young people have a right to sex education because of its ability in helping them to protect themselves against abuse, exploitation, unwanted pregnancies, STIs, and HIV and AIDs (Avert, 2014), various aspects of sex education according to Kearney (2008) should be taught in schools depending on the age of the student or what the children are able to comprehend at a point in time.

Sex education is not merely a unit in reproduction and teaching how babies are conceived and born. It has a far richer scope and goal of helping the youngster incorporate sex most meaningfully into his or her present and future life to provide him or her with some basic understanding on virtually every aspect of sex by the time he or she reaches full maturity (Rubin &Kindendall, 2001).[e]

Sex education is necessary to prepare the young for the task ahead (Gruenberg, 2000).[f] It must be more than just puberty and reproductive biology; it should help young people to be safe and enjoy their sexuality (Emmerson, 2013).

Also sex education should cover the following dimensions of a person’s sexuality:

⦁    Physical including physical sexual maturation, the physiology of sex and human reproduction.

⦁    Emotional including sexual attitude and feelings towards self and others.

⦁    Ethical including values and moral systems related to sexuality.



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