13-18 June 2011: South-South Cooperation Project UNFPA/TICA A Study Visit and a Workshop on Learning Exchange on Sexuality Education in Schools: A Way Forward A First in a series of the Dialogue Forum
South-South Cooperation Project UNFPA/TICA
A Study Visit and a Workshop on
Learning Exchange on Sexuality Education in Schools: A Way Forward
A First in a series of the Dialogue Forum for Strategic Framework and Capacity Development
Among Five UNFPA-TICA partnering Countries
Nearly half of the world's population (almost 3 billion people) is under the age of 25. Over 1.2 billion people are between 10 and 19 years old and about 85 per cent live in developing countries. Sexual and reproductive ill-health is a major contribution to the burden of disease among young people. 99% of the 19 million unsafe abortions carried out each year, takes place in developing countries. In those countries abortion is often illegal or allowed only to save a woman’s life. Information about family planning is scarce, as well as contraception and reproductive health services Worldwide, some 14 million women and girls between ages 15 and 19 — both married and unmarried — give birth each year and 85% of teenage pregnancies was unplanned. Young people at the age of 15 to 24 account for half of all new HIV infections: a total of approximately 3 million a year.
Based on a UNFPA survey among countries of APRO with regards to a common agenda that UNFPA can contribute its technical assistance in the area of sexual reproductive health, sexuality education in schools has been identified as one of the most area of interests among its six member countries: Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Nepal, Bhutan, and Thailand. Thus UNFPA in collaboration with Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency (TICA) approached PATH/Thailand to assist in providing learning facilitation for the representatives from the six member countries to develop dialogues that will lead to a joint strategic framework and capacity development to advance sexuality education efforts in the education systems of the countries.
Schools provide an important setting for reaching large numbers of young people with sexuality education before they become sexually active. The formal curriculum is a good delivery vehicle. This also involves linking with teacher education, supervision and support as well as assessment procedures concerned with measuring learning outcomes. A whole-school approach is required, involving school management practices and codes of conduct to ensure that schools provide a supportive, safe and healthy learning and working environment for students and staff. Co-curricular activities have an important role to play in providing opportunities for participatory learning and complement the formal curriculum. Community and parental involvement are also important as well as school links to health care and other services.
A study taken by Plan International-Asia Office last year to review progress made in countries in Asia in the area of integration of sexuality education as formal curriculum in school strongly recommended an intensified efforts for the work on this front to fill gaps in adolescent sexual reproductive health. The study which is limited to the 13 countries where Plan International has programmes indicated the main findings of that sexuality education are being progressively realized in almost all the countries in the study. Policies, strategies and activities to support its implementation in secondary and, in some cases, primary education are put in places. There is considerable diversity in approach, though there are significant commonalities, which reflects different policy priorities, social contexts, levels of resources and forms of governance. Interestingly, these policies in not many countries have been prepared by Ministries of Education, but rather in their National Plans on HIV/AIDS Prevention, which normally driven by ministry of health. Not surprisingly, there is a lack of alignment, as these strategies are generally not being included in mainstream Education Sector Plans (ESPs), and progress reporting is taking place through national HIV processes (e.g. UNGASS) rather than in Education for All (EFA).
From the Path experience implementing the Teenpath project in the last seven years, the key challenge in advancing comprehensive sexuality education lies in empowering teachers and school administration to prioritize this life skill learning as much as academic achievement. Enable learning on sexuality education is about enable learning skills in acquiring information and forming attitudes, beliefs about important topics such as identity, relationships and intimacy and becoming equipped with the knowledge, skills and values to make responsible choices about their sexual and social relationships in a world affected by HIV. The whole education philosophy and education policy in many countries must be challenged if it is ready to take on such important role of empowerment adolescents through participatory learning activities. Such education is not solely teacher-led, but meaningfully involve adolescents. Thus making advancement in sexuality education to establish and sustain life skills for young people will require critical review of current education philosophy and practices, and capacity enhancement of school administrators, teachers, parents and youth to take on empowerment approach in education and learning.
Why PATH in Thailand as a learning Facilitator
PATH in Thailand has been working on advocating for sexuality education as part of school curriculum since the late 1990s. In 2003 PATH was able to work in partnership with Ministry of health to get the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to engage ministry of education to implement the comprehensive sexuality education in 6,000 schools in Thailand. The experience from implementing this Teenpath Project enable Path Thailand to build collaboration among various partners, academic, NGOs, Provincial Public Health offices, Education Service Area Offices and youth groups all over the country to advancing this work in the last decade. Additional work in the area of improving access to services among adolescents through the work of “LoveCare”: a Model of adolescent-friendly sexual health services in Bangkok which also partially funded by UNFPA will also be incorporated in the learning as a case study which will enrich experience for other countries to learn from as well.
PATH will take the lead role in facilitating the learning exchange. PATH will draw upon experts in the field who we have been involved in advancing and advocating for sexuality education working Thailand in the last 5-10 years to enrich the learning both at the workshop and during field visits. Participants will comprise of 2-3 delegates selected by UNFPA and TICA from each of the five countries, plus 3-5 delegates from Thailand including UNFPA staff will participate in the learning exchange study tour and workshop. The delegates are expected to play relevant roles in advancing adolescent sexual reproductive health, especially in advocating sexuality education in school system. The total number of participants will be approximately 20-25 persons.
The following key issues will also be explored
· Policy environment related to promoting healthy sexuality
· curriculum for sexuality education and its delivery
· teacher training (pre-and in-service)
· school management of issues such as stigma and discrimination, gender-based violence and confidentiality
· parental and community involvement
· access/linkages to health care and other services.
· Quality assurance in facilitating learning of sexuality education
PATH will review and expose the participants to wide range of document related to how sexuality education is implemented in various countries and settings, although the focus will be schools. The International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (2009) by UNESCO will be applied as a guide in the discussion throughout the workshop.
Objective of the Learning Exchange Participants will be exploring concepts and meaning of “sex”, “sexuality”, “gender”, and different “sexuality education” models
· Participants will be able to reflect on the current situation, the needs, and gaps in adolescent sexual reproductive health from their societies
· Participants will be able to review and challenge on the current works on sexuality education and adolescents sexual reproductive health services work -in countries
· Participants will be able to respond, challenge, exchange views on how to advance sexuality education and adolescents sexual reproductive health services work in their country
· Participants will be able to develop an agree-upon an optimal plan of individual countries, and a jointed action plan that UNFPA/TICA can bring together as a common agenda to further their technical cooperation for the member countries.
The programme will include:
Delegates from each country will be asked to get together once, prior to arrival, to discuss the issues around the sexuality education currently going on in their countries: players; issues, facilitating/ hindering factors. The guideline for the discussion will be sent to each delegate team. Each country team will be asked to prepare their country report for 20 minute presentation. Expectation from the learning exchange will also be assessed.
The six-day program will consist of
Day I: Introductory of Participants and Program
Overview of Sexuality Education: Key Concepts
Overview of the Sexuality Education in the region
Country Report and Exchanges
Day II: Addressing the Gaps: Common Issues
How to Fill Gaps in Advancing Sexuality Education
Review Best Practices from some countries
Day III/ Day IV: Dividing into three teams for Field Visits/ Discussion with local team in each site
· Nakorn Si Thamarat
Day V: Back to Bangkok and report back/ exchange learning
Day VI: Working towards strategic framework development (Country team work)
· How this joint process help advance the agenda in each country
· What are the next steps for country actions; and for joint actions
· Identify capacity gaps/ capacity building needs/ joint actions
Reflections: Implications of the learning exchange at
· personal level
· organization level
Throughout the six days, through classroom and field visits, some of these activities conducted under Teenpath will serve as case studies for participants to explore how sexuality education can be attempted in various forms:
· School visit to see class oom learning on sexuality education
· Extra-curriculum student activities and youth-led activities : Path formed and coached youth groups to take on different advocacy actions through youth polls, film/media contests, youth leader camps, etc
· a website to provide access to information on SRH to young people (www.teenpath.net);
· dialogue forums on sexuality , organised with young people to improve their understanding of sexuality issues; forums included a focus on gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender (GLBT) youth;
· Lessons Learned from on parent-child communication “Talk Openly, Love Safely” campaign;
· Promoting access to youth-friendly sexual reproductive health services: “Love Care Services” Sexuality Education for Young People conferences, which involved teachers, students, civil society networks and high-level officials.
UNFPA/TICA will work with country partner to follow-up on issues/actions identified from the workshop from each country team, and agree upon the next step. UNFPA will link with UNESCO in each country to coordinate and expanding in-country partnership in promoting and advancing sexuality education agenda in the country.
Time: Preparation work October-November, Workshop during June 13-18, 2011
Venue: Winsor Suite Hotel, Sukhumvit Soi 18
 WHO/UNFPA/UNICEF (1999) define adolescence as the period of life between 10-
19 years, and young people as those between 10-24 years. The United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN, 1989) considers children to be under
the age of eighteen.
 Sexuality education in Asia: Are we delivering?, An assessment from a rights-based perspective, published by Plan International xx June 2010
 Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam.