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Monitoring the progress toward universal access for comprehensive sexuality education in Lao PDR

UNFPA and the Ministry of Education and Sports organized a workshop for the presentation of rapid assessment on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) for secondary education and technical and vocational education training (TVET) centres in Bokeo Province yesterday.

The aim of the meeting was to share the key findings of the assessment as well as update the materials used by teachers to deliver the lessons.

The participants, representing all the different departments of the Ministry of Education and Sports, other line ministries, international organizations, donors and civil society discussed the scaling up plan on CSE in other provinces such as Xieng Khuang, Huaphan, Oudomxay and Vientiane (capital city).

Every young person will one day have life-changing decisions to make about their sexual and reproductive health.

Yet research shows that the majority of adolescents lack the knowledge required to make those decisions responsibly, leaving them vulnerable to coercion, sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy.

Comprehensive sexuality education enables young people to protect their health, well-being and dignity. And because these programmes are based on human rights principles, they advance gender equality and the rights and empowerment of young people.

CSE is also important as it helps young people reflect on social norms, understand and manage their relationships with peers, parents, teachers, other adults and their communities.

The assessment highlighted key successful principles such as the use of the handbook for teachers, the training that they are offered to be able to teach their students and the exchange and support from the Ministry of Education and Sports and UNFPA.

The participants also discussed the main challenges and how to address them in the scaling steps, such as the time limitation to deliver the courses, the need of further details in the handbook to help teachers answer all questions from students, plans to train the new recruited teachers and the insufficiency of equipment’s to run the games and play roles in the manuals especially to facilitate the teaching for the ethnic groups.

In the Lao PDR, the government committed during the International Conference on Population and Development ICPD25 to make Comprehensive Sexuality Education curriculums go nationwide in primary, secondary and vocational training.

Comprehensive Sexuality Education programmes are implemented in 45 lower and upper secondary schools and one TVET college in Bokeo province. Since it started in 2019, 110 secondary teachers were trained to incorporate CSE into the relevant subjects of national curriculum and delivered CSE to 25,000 students across Bokeo.

30 teachers were trained on one-week stand-alone CSE and delivered sessions to 900 training and vocational education students in the province.

“In a growing society, where youth have more freedom, they do face more risks related to lack of information, misconceptions and unformed decisions. Comprehensive Sexuality Education saves lives. I would never emphasize enough on its importance. When well informed, adolescent girls will be able to protect themselves. The Lao PDR will continue to integrate curriculums into schools to become nationwide and reach every young person in the country,” said Dr. Phout Simmalavong, Vice Minister of Education and Sports (MoES)

“With partnership with other development partners such as Child Fund and Plan International, CSE will be further scaled up to 2 districts of Xieng Khuang, 2 districts of Huaphan, 1 district of Oudomxay province and 3 districts of Vientiane in 2020-2021 and will be reached out to more than 19,000 secondary students and 600 TVET students.

Proud To Be Us has used the key contents on gender diversities and sexual orientations for training of LGBT. The rapid assessment helps prior to the extension have a critical analysis of already implemented programmes to take into consideration the challenges and adapt in these upcoming steps,” said Ms. Mariam A. Khan, Representative of UNFPA in the Lao PDR.

Source: Lao News Agency