UNESCO releases paper to improve comprehensive sexuality education
Global Times


Students of Shili Primary School read at a local bookstore in Qingzhou City of Weifang, east China's Shandong Province, April 18, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has launched a policy paper in Beijing to push forward effective implementation of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE).

The paper, titled "Facing the facts: the case for comprehensive sexuality education," said CSE, which covers sex, relationships, gender, puberty and sexual and reproductive health, increases young people's knowledge on sexuality, sexual behavior and the risk of pregnancy, HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and also promotes gender equality.

"Young people account for one out of two new HIV infections, yet only around 34 percent of young people have correct knowledge of HIV prevention and transmission," Jenelle Babb, program officer of the Health & Education Section of UNESCO, said when introducing the paper on Wednesday.

"These facts demonstrate why CSE is so important, and what is at stake if children and young people continue to be deprived of the rights to learn about sex," she said.

Jointly produced by the Global Education Monitoring Report and the Section for Health and Education at the UNESCO, the paper discusses how governments can overcome social resistance and operational constraints to scale up comprehensive sexuality education programs as part of their commitment to the global education goal.

It offers six recommendations to promote CSE, including investing in teacher education and support, developing monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, and engaging with community and parent organizations.

Hong Ping, an official with the China Family Planning Association, said at a dialogue at the launch event that government-conducted sexuality education in China has been involving more young people and their parents.

"We have held a number of activities that can be participated by teenagers and young people, which enabled them to discuss sexuality-related topics," Hong said.

Amakobe Sande, country director of UNAIDS, said the launch of the paper is expected to help catalyze a broader social consensus to bring joint efforts to support the effective delivery of high-quality CSE.