Comprehensive Sexuality Education: Empowering young people through knowledge on healthy sexuality and lifestyles
Ha Noi, 15 February 2016 – The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) and UNESCO co-organized a workshop on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) for young people, introducing information on CSE in schools in Viet Nam and practical CSE tools and recommendations.
With more than 23 million students in Viet Nam, education plays an important role in ensuring young people know how to make responsible decisions, protecting them from coercion, sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies.
As part of the MOET-UNESCO collaboration on Comprehensive Sexuality Education and Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response, members of the Department of Student Affairs (SAD), Department of Teachers and Educational Administrators (DTEA), the Continuing Education Department (CED), Viet Nam Volunteer Center (VVC), Plan International, and the Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population (CCIHP) participated in the dissemination workshop of the Frequently Asked Questions and Answers (FAQs) booklets “As We Grow Up”.
The FAQ booklets are based on the collection of questions by adolescents and young people during the exhibition on healthy sexuality education As We Grow Up in 2013 and 2014. The booklet was developed and approved by MOET and with the support of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union and includes three volumes on the topics on puberty, relationships, safe sex and HIV/AIDS.
During the workshop, the results of the CSE project were disseminated through the introduction of CSE initiatives, practical lessons learned from the piloting of the FAQ booklets in schools in Ha Noi and Lao Cai and key recommendations for targeting gaps in implementation and addressing current challenges.
During the interactive and participatory discussions, participants addressed how students with differing gender identities may be at risk of violence and discrimination in school settings, the necessary time and financial resources for implementing a successful CSE model, the importance of involving students in extracurricular activities, and building leadership capacity among both students and teachers.
Proposed solutions involved the creation of collaborative projects among different middle schools as a means of sharing information, experiences and key obstacles as well as the establishment of a parent association to help voice the concerns and questions of parents and to allow for advocacy of educational activities. The value of the use of gender disaggregated statistics and the participation in a CSE conference for training on gender sensitivity were also among the solutions proposed.
H.E. Vice Minister Nguyen Thi Nghia emphasized the importance of CSE as young people “experience a host of physical and mental changes, exhibiting their keen interest in and enthusiasm for exploring and discovering new things.” Vice Minister Nghia called upon education officials to actively advocate for the efficient and effective use of the FAQ booklet, which will be distributed to all educational establishments, Community Learning Centres (CLCs) and private clinics for young people living with HIV/AIDS.
The UNESCO Education Programme Coordinator, Ms. Sun Lei, recognized the importance of using youth-friendly modalities in conducting sexuality education with consideration to the social and cultural context and expressed UNESCO’s support to “approaches that involve young people as active partners, working with youth in and outside of the school.” Ms. Sun Lei also highlighted the key role of sexual and reproductive health in education policies and strategies as it provides the knowledge and skills needed to make safer and healthier choices; reduces risky behaviors particularly among those who are sexually active; and reduces vulnerability to HIV and other risks associated with gender inequality.
Comprehensive Sexuality Education is an inclusive approach for Viet Nam’s educational programmes, enabling young people to make informed decisions about their sexuality and health. UNESCO and the Ministry of Education and Training are highly committed to ensuring that young people in Viet Nam live a healthy, informed and happy life as the country moves forward towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals on Quality Education, Gender Equality and Health.
You can access the As We Grow Up FAQ booklets in English and Vietnamese through the following links:
For more information, please contact Ms. Hoang Diem Huyen, Education Programme Assistant, at hd.huyen(at)unesco.org.
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