Research paper comprehensive sex education


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Ultimately, governments in all four countries have generally not been proactive enough in promoting CSE and addressing opposing voices, and in effectively implementing existing supportive policy frameworks. While these commitments include provision for CSE, they lack time-bound targets. Regional meetings specifically focused on CSE have recently taken place in both Africa and Latin America, culminating in two regional commitments.

Mexico City. The Declaration was reported to have had a positive impact on policy-making in Peru and Guatemala: This declaration is very important because it gives guidelines, […] it includes accountability. Each department needed to establish a Bureau, you needed the Education one, the Health one, and a joint Bureau.

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In the case of Education, they ask every departmental directorate to make a strategy, a plan for the department, of how they are going to progress in the implementation of CSE and prevention of violence. International agency, Guatemala City. In all four countries, governments and international agencies have had the strongest impact. Community leaders, religious groups, and CSOs, in particular those representing youth, also play a prominent role in shaping CSE policies, supporting or hindering their implementation, and influencing public opinion. The active involvement of different types of actors in favour of CSE creates a diverse supportive constituency that can be mobilised to contribute to consensus-building and inclusive collaborative processes in defining and implementing CSE policies and programmes.

The involvement of experts outside government can help ministries of education develop fact-based policies and resist ideological pressure. All four countries rely on technical and financial support from international agencies, and more sporadically from bilateral development agencies. Accra, Ghana. Education policy consultant, Lima, Peru. In all four countries, technical support by international agencies is considered necessary but not free of risks, as this support often comes — and goes — hand in hand with financial support.

Key informants mentioned problems of sustainability and quality of CSE over time as agencies withdraw and governments are not prepared to allocate public funds, nor have the expertise, to continue the work. Conservative opposition to CSE exists in all four countries and has been effective in slowing down progress toward more comprehensive sexuality education in schools. Yet progressive civil society organisations have been challenging these conservative segments of society.

Comprehensive Sexuality Education | Guttmacher Institute

In Peru and Guatemala, progressive civil society groups are more active and vocal than in Ghana and Kenya, and have led strong national advocacy campaigns in favour of CSE in schools. Organised into large coalitions 1 1. As I mentioned earlier, the National Campaign for Sexuality Education — I think they have been very involved in creating impact in this area.

National NGO, Guatemala. In Kenya, the government has involved a few national and local NGOs in policy processes, mainly through task forces. In Ghana, several groups such as the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, Marie Stopes International Ghana and Ipas support CSE in schools, although they are not organised into a formal coalition, and their contributions are more at the classroom implementation level.

These advocacy activities continue despite strong resistance to CSE from conservative groups. These groups are active and vocal, and exert their influence within state institutions themselves: Of course there are very conservative groups […] often within the political establishment. The Church as an institution, in the time of Fujimori, was a clear actor that gave its opinion. Education professional, Lima, Peru. As they are less likely to be openly challenged by progressive groups who are fewer and less organised than in Latin America , they are able to remain behind-the-scenes, where they are effective in slowing down progress: I think we have the political will from the government, […] but within, you see the government has other stakeholders which also have to expect and contribute, so we cannot wish away the religious and cultural views.

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International agency, Nairobi, Kenya. All four countries have organisations representing youth involved in CSE, but their influence varies greatly. In Ghana and Kenya, youth-focused groups such as the Planned Parenthood Association and Curious Minds in Ghana, and the Forum for African Women Educationalists and the Centre for the Study of Adolescence in Kenya are advocating for sexual and reproductive health and rights, and several Kenyan youth organisations are represented in the national consortium Right Here Right Now.

However, youth-focused organisations have less public and media presence than in the Latin American countries, and are mostly involved with the health sector. Although they participate in policy development processes, they are not always consulted on implementation: When it comes to the implementation of the National [HIV] Strategic Plan, we have not been involved, even though we have been actively engaged in drafting the strategy and even the youth strategy.

In Ghana, a wide range of stakeholders is consulted in the process of curriculum development Awusabo-Asare et al. So you cannot apply that policy in the education curricula.


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So what we need to do is to have a dialogue with the Ghana Education Service. In fact we should have one policy on adolescent sexual reproductive health. International agency, Ghana. However, a multi-sectoral approach has not yet been formalised. Several Peruvian key informants mentioned the lack of coordination between the education and health sectors results in somewhat erratic and disorganised implementation and undermines the quality and effectiveness of CSE. The Observatory for Reproductive Health OSAR , an alliance of academics, civil society and legislative bodies created in , monitors and supervises the implementation of policies related to reproductive health, including CSE.

Although the National School Health Policy provides a framework for a multi-sectoral approach, this approach has not yet been defined between the education and the health sectors.

There is a lack of collaboration and coordination between the two ministries in the development of CSE policies and curricula. There is a wide gap between the policy at Ministry of Education level and at Ministry of Health level because the ASRH policy is more owned by the Ministry of Health […] For instance, the Ministry of Health, under that policy says that any young people, I think from fourteen years, have a right to access condoms, but when you go to schools, condoms are not allowed to be supplied in schools.

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In Ghana, a sound policy foundation exists and a national programme offers sexuality education in all secondary schools, but more can be achieved. CSE is not currently part of the national policy debate; politicians consider the matter closed. Laws and policies are in place to implement sexuality education in schools, and topics are included in the curriculum and complemented by co-curricular activities.

However, the various syllabi do not adequately address gender, sexual diversity, rights and practical skills. The general approach is still fear-based and abstinence-focused Awusabo-Asare et al. In Peru, the State has gradually taken on the responsibility of guaranteeing CSE in schools, adopting a fairly broad rights-based and gender-focused approach. Opposition to CSE from the powerful Catholic Church and evangelical groups makes it difficult to build a strong political consensus.

The implementation of the Education Guidelines and Pedagogical Orientations for CSE has stalled due to a lack of political support and weak executive power following organisational changes within the Ministry of Education.

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Despite an intensification of activities by opposition groups in the past few years, the adoption in of a new national curriculum that included more CSE topics could herald new progress Motta et al. In Guatemala, important advances were made between and , and a clear policy framework, the National Strategy on CSE, exists on paper.

However, its implementation is slow and remains a challenge due to lack of political will. The government is still facing strong opposition to CSE from conservative groups, but civil society has strengthened its collaboration in response to this situation, and in promising recent developments, the Ministry of Education approved the guidelines developed by the Technical platform created to implement the Mexico Ministerial Declaration in Alfaro Alfaro, C. In Kenya, the policy framework for CSE is fairly strong, and technical support from international agencies is available.

Although the government has been quite supportive of CSE, implementation has been hindered by the prioritisation of core subjects, and opposition to some CSE topics has limited the scope of the programmes. Moreover, the education sector has narrowly focused on life skills and HIV, largely following an abstinence-only prevention-based approach, and the available curricula are still lacking comprehensiveness Population Council Population Council.

Evidence from assessments of CSE provision in schools in the four countries suggests that much remains to be done. Surveys conducted in with principals, teachers and students aged 15—17 in three regions in Ghana Awusabo-Asare et al. In both countries, the education provided is still far from comprehensive. In the four countries, although the policy framework is considered favourable and supportive, serious weaknesses still exist. Legal and policy provision for the delivery of school-based CSE is included in general policies, but there is no national policy specific to CSE.

Moreover, the frameworks defining the scope of CSE in schools are of a lower normative level, such as CSE technical guidelines in Peru or national curricula and syllabi in all four countries.

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In Kenya and Ghana, while the policy framework offers a supportive environment for school-based CSE, sexuality education is not defined comprehensively enough and focuses largely on life skills and HIV without addressing topics such as contraceptive methods, sexual orientation and rights. In Peru and Guatemala, guidelines and curricular frameworks are more rights-based and gender-focused, but remain to be translated into practice.

In all four countries, policies and laws containing sexuality education provisions lack consistency. Health sector policies tend to be more comprehensive and ambitious than those promulgated by ministries of education. The main challenge in all four countries remains one of implementing supportive and unequivocal policy frameworks due to insufficient government commitment to championing CSE, inadequate or non-existent budgeting to effectively implement CSE, weak monitoring and evaluation systems, lack of coordination across ministries, and inadequate partnerships and coalition-building mechanisms among actors.

Recently, governments in these four countries have shown a relative openness to CSE, reflected in their adoption of ambitious regional commitments.