Sunday, June 23, 2024

Study finds locals lose virginity at between 10 and 19 years

More under-age students in Primary, Junior and Senior secondary schools lose their virginity at an early age.
A First Botswana Youth Risk Behavioural Surveillance Survey (BYBSS), under the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, which was launched on Wednesday in Gaborone, found that 19.1 percent of students aged between 10 and 19 years, are engaged in sexual intercourse for the first time before the age of 13 years, with a majority being boys as compared to girls ÔÇô 23 percent of boys and 14.6 percent of girls, with Kgatleng District leading the regions.
The study also found that of the overall 20.5 percent who reported ever engaging in sexual intercourse, the majority reported being forced to have sex. In the 12 months prior to the survey, 13.5 percent said their first sexual experience was with a person 5 or more years older.
Presenting some of the key findings of the survey, Dr Phenyo Lekone revealed that older students were more likely to have sex. He says, initially, BYBSS planned to enumerate 156 schools of which only 145 were enrolled in the survey, yielding a school response rate of 93 percent.
He says of the 4,289 students who were presented with parental consent forms, 4,259 were returned and 100 students refused to take part in the study.
The survey, which was conducted between September and October 2010, only saw 3, 374 students from 145 government schools fully completing the survey with usable data on variables of interest.
 Although the survey is the first of its kind in Botswana, it shows that students have reported several high risk behaviour that impacts their overall health, including high risk sexual behaviours and other use of drugs in school.
 According to the study, given the vulnerability of the young population, the findings should be used to develop and implement targeted educational interventions that will educate students and effect behaviour change within school settings.
The study made some recommendations that  BYRSS should be conducted every 4 years to monitor and ensure the effectiveness of public health, policies and practices at the district and national level.
It also says the study should be done outside the examination period to allow students to fully participate with counselling being given to the affected students.
The study was conducted by the Ministry of Education with some technical assistance from the United States of America. Its main objective was, among others, to establish baseline data that will be used to fast track health risk behavioural trends among students in Botswana.


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