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‘It's good to teach them, but … they should also know when to apply it’: parents’ views and attitudes towards Fiji's Family Life Education curriculum

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A Family Life Education (FLE) curriculum was introduced in Fiji schools in 2010 in response to concern about increasing teenage pregnancies and young people's vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections and other health and social problems. However, conservative and suspicious parental attitudes towards FLE have been an obstacle. The need for an educational programme for parents to complement the FLE curriculum taught in schools is now urgent. This study examines parents' views on the sex and sexuality component of the FLE curriculum. Data were collected from 474 individuals using questionnaires, focus groups and face-to-face interviews. Participants represented different ethnic groups with Indigenous Fijians, women and Christians in the majority. The influence of the Christian religion on negative attitudes towards homosexuality and the use of protection is strong, as is parents' resistance to discussing sex education with their children. The paper concludes with suggestions on how to counter parents’ resistance to what they negatively perceive as Western or unbiblical ideas.
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Keywords: Family Life Education; Fiji; parental attitudes; sexual diversity; teenage pregnancy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Independent Researcher, Suva, Fiji

Publication date: November 2, 2014

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