When government representatives from around the globe meet next week in New York City for the annual United Nations General Assembly, the Transforming Education Summit, convened to tackle global crises in education, will be on the docket.
The U.N.’s track record on education should raise red flags for all concerned.
Ten African countries committed on July 18 to a U.N. initiative aimed at overhauling national approaches to sex education. Benin, Cameroon, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Gabon, Gambia, Lesotho, Malawi, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Uganda—countries with generally conservative social policies (except for the more liberal South Africa)—have agreed to a five-year plan allowing the U.N. free rein to spread its radical sexual agenda across local schools.
That marks a dramatic break from long-standing opposition to that agenda in Africa, revealing the corrosive impact of U.N. political pressure.
The Education Plus Initiative was launched in 2019 by five U.N. agencies in an apparent bid to ensure adolescent girls’ access to secondary education while tackling the alarming rate of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa in that age group.
It features “comprehensive sexuality education,” which exposes children to “sexual exploration,” abortion, and “sexual and gender identity” issues unmoored from biological reality. Those concepts have nothing to do with sex education, and everything to do with the importation of foreign ideology.
The initiative goes well beyond its publicized objective to ensure that all girls in sub-Saharan Africa have equal access to free secondary education by 2025 for HIV/AIDs prevention. That objective in itself is commendable, as research shows that ensuring girls complete secondary education does reduce their risk of acquiring HIV by up to half.
However, it’s being egregiously misused. Education Plus reflects U.N. political opportunism at its worst, using the urgency of soaring rates of HIV/AIDS to import harmful agendas that defy the laws and values of African countries.
The U.N.’s International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education calls for a hypersexualized view of even very young children, explicitly rejecting family values and cutting off the rights of parents to educate their children in conformity with their moral and religious convictions.
Instead of focusing on risk avoidance, it pushes minors into high-risk situations with proven catastrophic consequences for their health and well-being.
Take a look at the “guidance,” and ask yourself, “Would I want the children in my life subjected to this kind of ‘learning?’”
Moreover, in teaching children about their entirely unfounded “right” to access abortion, “comprehensive sexuality education” flies in the face of national laws that protect unborn life.
That openly violates the pledge made by countries at the seminal U.N. International Conference on Population and Development that “any measures or changes related to abortion … can only be determined at the national or local level”—i.e., countries are to decide on their own abortion laws, rather than having them imposed by the U.N.
By advocating for abortion, even for girls without the consent of their parents, the U.N. crosses the line into advocating for the illegal.
Of particularly serious concern for African societies, where the primacy of parents is held in high regard, the Education Plus Initiative advocates for the explicit erosion of parental rights through the removal of parental consent laws. The latter, put in place to protect the rightful prerogative of parents to safeguard their children as enshrined in international law, are deemed a barrier to the “empowerment” of teens to freely access abortion and other services.
Sadly, it isn’t surprising that U.N. entities have pursued high-level political advocacy to advance these ideological aims. The U.N. Population Fund, for example, has been myopically focused on an international “human right” to abortion, and what better way to realize this insidious goal than through the indoctrination of children?
That’s a sure path to an engineered societal transformation in developing countries. The way in is through the targeting of high-level government officials, persuading them that this indeed is what their young people need to face the problems of today. Those officials, looking for serious solutions to the very real problems of poverty and related ills, are quick to accept U.N. assistance out of sheer need, turning a blind eye to the dramatic consequences that ensue.
The U.N. has never received a mandate to promote “sexuality” education or the like. Spend but a day at the U.N., and you will quickly see that vocal opposition to those agendas cuts across all regional groups.
Governments are onto the hazards of those campaigns, and hardly a day goes by that they are not challenged and rejected to ward off unwanted U.N. incursions into national sovereignty.
Alas, sometimes the national need and corresponding pressure is too great to say “no.” The perils of Education Plus will manifest across Africa, wreaking widespread damage.
Before more harm is done, partnering governments should redirect their energies into legitimate solutions that prioritize the true educational and health needs of young people, working in conjunction with families.
Now is the time to put an end to the cultural imperialism endangering Africa’s future. African governments must resist attempts to dictate from outside their national positions on issues that should be decided by Africans for Africa.
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