Sexuality Education in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

28 February 2014

The new regional study commissioned by UNESCO shows that most countries in EECA have policies in place to provide sexuality education in schools, but only few of them have translated these policies in good quality teaching practices at national scale.

Globally, the HIV pandemic is stabilizing and declining. However, across Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA), it continues to grow at an accelerating pace. Adolescents and young people engage in practices that pose serious risks to their sexual and reproductive health while they have limited access to comprehensive HIV prevention and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education and services, highlights the report Prevention Education in Eastern Europe and Central Asia: A review of policies and practices released by UNESCO Moscow Office at the 2nd Regional Prevention Education Conference held in Kiev (Ukraine) on December 3-4, 2013.

Assessment of national health, HIV, education and youth laws, key policies and strategies as well as health and life skills education curricula, teaching practices and outcomes was conducted in 10 EECA countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan to prepare the regional report. Experts from the national ministries of education and their bodies (education and curriculum development, teacher training and research institutions) were consulted during data collection, preparation and revision of the individual country assessments included into the report.

Over 100 key legal and policy documents from the EECA countries were analyzed for the report, making it the first systemic review on this topic in the region. Assessment findings were analyzed and synthesized for a regional review (Chapters 1-6 of the report) which includes a presentation of the HIV epidemic in EECA countries and SRH-related behaviour patterns of adolescents and young people (Chapter 2); a comparative analyses of national laws and policies that provide a framework for the delivery of prevention education and SRH services to adolescents and young people (Chapter 3); findings about the organization and coordination of prevention education at the country level (Chapter 4); various approaches, content and coverage and resourcing of prevention education (Chapter 5). The last Chapter 6 discusses the key findings, challenges and opportunities and provides recommendations for discussion among multiple stakeholders about how to enhance the quality and expand the reach of SRH educational programmes, as well as strengthen their linkages with SRH services for young people.

Presented at the regional conference, the report prompted active discussions among 50 participants representing 10 EECA countries. Most of recommendations provided in the report were integrated into the conference concluding document which urged the governments and all other key stakeholders to make comprehensive HIV and SRH education and good quality and friendly SRH service available to all adolescents and young people including those of key populations.

The full report is available under the link.
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