Sexual and reproductive health and rights are taboo, both at home and in school. In our formal education only 13% of pupils have been taught about condoms, and hardly 2% about oral contraceptives. The most common reason for the poor health status of youth is their being uninformed, especially about their sexual and reproductive health. Schools play a key role for the development and information of youth, which makes them the right place where they should learn how to care for their health. The lack of proper information is one of the crucial reasons also for discrimination, violence, hate and bullying in school settings. This is exactly why as early as in 2009 HERA has advocated for comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) to become a part of the curricula in primary and secondary schools.
Following the research into the opportunities for pupils to learn about reproductive health and its protection in schools, which only verified that love should not be discussed only after classes, in 2011 the Comprehensive Sexuality Education Framework was adopted, followed by our preparation of the Primary School Teacher Handbook for SRHR Topics. The recommendation to pilot the CSE in schools remained on paper, so, together with 47 other civil society organisations we signed a Declaration on Comprehensive Sexuality Education, and in the period before the 2016 elections 10 political parties promised their support in promoting these topics in the formal education.
However, someone has to respond to the questions crossing the minds of young people, so in 2015 we developed an informal CSE curriculum comprising seven components: gender, sexual and reproductive health (HIV, STI and contraception), civil aspects, pleasure, relations and relationships, violence and diversity. This curriculum has been taught by our accredited peer educators and together with their peers they teach us everything we need to know about CSE – from A to Z.
In 2018 a working group was formed in the Education Development Bureau to prepare a model for piloting CSE in the formal education and in November 2019 the Government adopted a decision to pilot the comprehensive sexuality education as an elective subject in the 9th grade in four primary schools. Same year in December, together with the Education Development Bureau, we trained the first 15 teachers who will pilot the CSE in their schools from September 2021.
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