Comprehensive Sexuality Education: Developing Responsible Youth VS Rising Risks
Curbing the rising incidences of early pregnancy, sexual violence, and human-immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among young Filipinos will be further strengthened in the classroom as the Department of Education (DepEd) issued the Policy Guidelines on the Implementation of the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE).
Otherwise known as DepEd Order No. 31, series 2018 (DO 31), the policy aims to enhance the holistic wellness of the Filipino adolescents and effectively address their needs for health and protection through education by ensuring that they are equipped with comprehensive information and appropriate life skills that can advance gender equality and empowerment, clarify their values and attitude, and reduce risks related to poor health outcomes – thereby enabling them to achieve their full potential.
“The need to promptly arrest the surge in these cases is increasingly becoming urgent; the young generation is really at risk, that’s why it is imperative to enable them to develop into responsible adolescents capable of making rational decisions based on adequate information and better understanding of reproductive health,” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones noted.
Recognizing the roles and responsibilities of the school system to provide learners their right to good health, the policy shall establish a common understanding of CSE key concepts and messages and ensure a clear implementation of CSE protocols in all public and private elementary, junior and senior high schools, learning centers for Special Education (SPED) and Alternative Learning System (ALS), and laboratory schools of state and local universities and colleges (SUCs/LUCs).
Indigenous learning systems (ILSs) and Madrasah Education Program (MEP) shall integrate the CSE standards, core topics, core values, and core life skills in subjects like Music, Arts, Physical Education and Health (MAPEH); Science; Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao (ESP); Araling Panlipunan; and Personality Development.
Effective teaching, informed adolescents
A curriculum-based process of teaching and learning, CSE is anchored on cognitive, emotional, physical and social aspects of sexuality that is scientific, age- and developmentally appropriate, culturally and gender-responsive, and with rights-based approach. Likewise, it’s implementation shall involve parents-teachers-community associations, school officials, civil society organizations, and other interest groups that ensure cultural acceptability, efficiency, and appropriateness of key concepts and messages.
As it equips learners with knowledge, skills, attitude and values, CSE will help them develop critical thinking in relation to risky behaviors and empower them to realize their health, well-being, and dignity. It is also expected to contribute to better learning outcomes, reduced dropout rate, increased completion rate, and improved quality of learning.
Deped Order No. 31 s-2018
Policy Guidelines on the Implementation of the Comprehensive Sexuality Education
The 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study(YAFSS) conducted by the Demographic Research and Development Foundation, Inc. (DRDF) and University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) revealed that the proportion of youth aged 15 to 24 who had early sexual encounters, increased from 23 percent in 2002 to 32 percent in 2013. The 2017 National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) also reported that the proportion of adolescent girls who had begun childbearing rises rapidly with age, from 1 percent at age 15 to 22 percent at age 19. The 2013 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS) Report of the PSA has identified marriage as one of the top reasons for not attending school at 12.9 percent in a survey done amongst young people 6-24 years old. This is particularly highest in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Davao Region (Region XI) and Soccsksargen (Region XII). In addition, from January 1984 to February 2018, 28 percent of the reported cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were 15-24 years old according to the Department of Health (DOH). In 2016, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported that these alarming incidents of risky sexual and social behaviors are further exacerbated by the prevalence of sexual violence among 17 percent of adolescents from 13 to 17 years old.
The current situation of increasing early pregnancies, violence and increasing incidence of HIV among young Filipinos has brought more attention to the need to equip
them with the correct information and appropriate life skills that would enable them to make responsible decision-making and respectful behavior that will protect their health, well-being and dignity.
DepEd is committed to provide and protect the rights of Filipino learners to good education and improved health and to help Filipino learners complete basic education without the burden of health concerns. It also recognizes the roles and responsibilities of the school system to give learners their right to good health by leading the implementation of the comprehensive sexuality education (CSE).
In order to effectively address the needs of the learners for health and protection through education, CSE is designed to ensure that the learners are receiving comprehensive and appropriate information that can advance gender equality and empowerment. CSE has been shown to increase learners’ knowledge, clarify their values and attitudes, and develop the skills to reduce risks related to poor health outcomes and achieve their full potential.
Source / Credits:
- Department of Education
- Press Release – August 4, 2018
- Deped Order No. 31 s-2018