Join the dialogue! Comprehensive sexuality education in the context of COVID-19
The evidence is clear. When young people have access to quality education about sexual and reproductive health, it empowers them to build safe and healthy relationships. To this end, comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) teaches students in a holistic manner, exploring the cognitive, emotional, physical and social aspects of sexuality.
This foundation is crucial to ensuring young people’s health, well-being and rights. With more than half of the world’s youth population living in Asia and the Pacific, access to CSE is a critical issue in the region.
In 2018, government officials, civil society organizations and UN representatives came together to talk about CSE in the Asia-Pacific region. Participants engaged with the 2018 International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education and how it can be used to design sexuality education curricula that is in the best interest of young people. The meeting moved us one step closer to all young people having access to and benefitting from quality CSE.
Two years later, the world has been rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic and the education sector must operate in a very different reality. Nevertheless, the work towards universal access to CSE continues and, in light of the crisis, education for health and wellbeing has never been more important.
UNESCO Bangkok, UNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional Office (APRO) and the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW) are partnering again to host the Asia and the Pacific Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in the context of COVID-19 on 3 November, 2020. Building on the 2018 dialogue, this virtual meeting will address the new realities created by the pandemic while continuing work on the long-term goal of creating strong CSE programmes across the region.
As education systems navigate the pandemic through digital and distance learning strategies, CSE must remain a priority for governments so that young people can stay informed and stay safe. In the COVID-19 pandemic, rates of sexual and gender-based violence have increased; young people’s access to quality sexuality education is important now more than ever.
The disruptions of the pandemic present not only a challenge, but an opportunity to explore and leverage the unique features of online spaces and digital tools in the context of CSE. Already, online CSE is reaching young people with accurate and sex-positive information through various platforms. It is in this context that the dialogue will provide a space to collaborate and share approaches to ensure access to CSE (formal, non-formal, informal, and digital and in-person education) for young people through the pandemic and into the future.
The Asia Pacific Sexuality Education Virtual Exhibition will be launched at the end of the dialogue to showcase various innovative sexuality education initiatives around the region. Open to sexuality education partners, youth-led and youth-serving organizations, governments and UN agencies, registration information for both the dialogue and the exhibition can be found at: bit.ly/APSEVE2020
What: Asia and the Pacific Multi-stakeholder Dialogue and Exhibition on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in the context of COVID-19
Who: CSE stakeholders— governments, UN agencies, youth organizations and education partners
When: 11.00 am —1.00 pm Bangkok time, 3 November 2020
Where: Virtual Meeting
Latest resources about CSE from UNESCO and partners:
Facing the facts: the case for comprehensive sexuality education
From ideas to action: addressing barriers to comprehensive sexuality education in the classroom
Switched on: sexuality education in the digital space
To learn more about digital CSE in the Asia-Pacific Region:
Resources related to CSE and COVID-19:
Lancet article on CSE in the context of COVID-19: Comprehensive sexuality education to address gender-based violence
UNESCO’s COVID-19 Global Education Coalition’s Gender Flagship: Building back equal: girls back to school guide