A rumor reporting the introduction of homosexuality into school curricula in Benin has sparked controversy since Thursday, November 30, 2023. The question was raised by party deputies ”The Democrats” during the plenary session of the National Assembly. The spokesperson for the speaker of parliament, Vitali Boton, took the opportunity to clarify the matter.
At the question to know if parliament is working on a law relating to homosexuality in training curricula in Benin, the response from parliament was unequivocal. ”No project or proposal relating to the practice of homosexuality was on the agenda, it was never discussed”, declared Louis Vlavonou’s spokesperson during the press briefing organized on Friday December 1, 2023. According to Vitali Boton, the comments relayed were taken out of context. The spokesperson said that “the item on the agenda, the subject of controversy, is no longer a current issue transformed into an oral question with debate’’.
The government clarifies
Indeed, the question on homosexuality was raised by the president of the opposition parliamentary group “The Democrats” Noureinou Atachade and four (4) other deputies. When questioned, the Minister of Secondary, Technical Education and Vocational Training, Yves Kouaro Chabi first denounced “misinformation” and “intoxication”. According to him, the government has instead chosen sexual health education in schools. The reform aims to ensure that “students receive accurate, comprehensive and non-stigmatizing information about their bodies, relationships and rights”, he clarified. For his part, the minister of nursery and primary education, Salimane Karimou, insisted that a such a practice is at odds with our cultural values’’.
It should be remembered that the rumors about the introduction of the teaching of homosexuality in school programs were born from the content of the SVT-infused teaching guide. “ It is sufficiently clear and unequivocal that at no time did the teacher’s guide advocate homosexuality. He considered it on page 11 to be “a deviation from natural sexual behavior”, had already clarified the Minister of Secondary, Technical Education and Vocational Training, Yves Kouaro Chabi at the beginning of November 2023.
During the plenary session, members of the government returned to the context in which sexual health education (and not homosexuality) was infused. These include, among other things, the increase in early pregnancies, forced marriage, sexual violence and STIs/HIV/AIDS in schools and the need to keep girls in school.
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