» Senegal is updating its curricula by reinforcing reproductive health education
11.10.2016 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Senegal is updating its curricula by reinforcing reproductive health education

The Ministry of National Education of Senegal works on the update of the school curriculum, ideal opportunity to support youth on sexual and reproductive health, gender inequality and gender violence. This action can encourage youth to develop their full potential through education. For this, UNESCO and UNFPA supported, from 26 to 30 September 2016, a workshop during which 18 experts, especially the presidents of the pedagogical commissions of the ministry of National Education, looked at the content of sexual reproductive health proposed by the coalition for reproductive health of youth.

The workshop, organized at the initiative of the Senegalese association for the family well-being (ASBEF- Association Sénégalaise pour le bien-être familial) aimed at finalizing the common contents on reproductive health education, according to the directives and norms of curriculum writing of the ministry of National Education. The consolidated document is the product of an inclusive, participatory process including different actors in the ministries of Education and Health, of agencies of the United Nations (UNESCO, UNFPA), different organizations of civil society (ASBEF, FAWE, GEEP, OneWorld, RAES), as well as parents of students, young girls and boys, professors, parliamentarians, religious leaders….

Since 2012, these actors of civil society joined forces around a coalition for reproductive health with the aim of supporting the ministry of National Education in the strengthening of reproductive health education in the school curriculum. The selected content, used to help teens and young girls and boys to develop sustainable and healthy behaviors, are organized in seven key concepts adapted to the age and to cultural realities of the learners. During this process, the Project supporting the update of curricula (called PARC), put in place by the ministry of National Education, represents a real opportunity to provide Senegal with school programs aligned with international standards, while being actors in the reality of the country.

The proposed contents are contextualized in the SDGs, especially the targets of Objective 3 (Health and Well-being) and 4 (Quality of Education). As a matter of fact, according to the propositions by William Ngue of UNESCO, the strengthening of links between education and health through taking into account reproductive health education content in the school curriculum has the double benefit for teens and youth to learn to be in good health and to be in good health to learn new concepts.

The three days of work with the presidents of the pedagogical commissions produced a harmonized consensual document that describes the key elements to consider in the framework of the reform of school programs where the PARC is responsible. At the start of the works, on a proposal of the coordinator of the PARC, Professor Amadou Camara and the participants discussed and agreed to work on a common canvas that takes into consideration the contents proposed by the coalition respecting the approach by competence, privileged by the country in the writing of school programs. Based on this, in two production sub-workshops and plenary sessions of harmonization, the participants formulated for each of the seven key concepts on health reproduction: global competences, elements of competence and specifics objectives. They also identified pedagogical resources related to cycles and steps of formal education to ensure an age-specific approach.

The workshop resulted in the production of a document of reference that can be used as a resource to better respond to questions linked to reproductive health during the next writing of new curricula for the teaching in Senegal by the pedagogical disciplinary teams. For further information, please contact: Xavier Hospital (x.hospital(at)unesco.org) or William Ngué (w.ngue(at)unesco.org) in charge of Health Educationand Wellbeing at Unesco Regional and Multisectoral Office in Dakar.

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