Close to 10 years after its first edition, a fully updated International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education was published on Wednesday by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) based in Paris.
It's the latest move of UNESCO to encourage quality comprehensive sexuality education to promote health and well-being, respect for human rights and gender equality.
Based on a review of the current status of sexuality education around the world and drawing on best practices in various regions, this new edition of Technical Guidance was produced in collaboration with other UN institutions such as UNAIDS, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and is designed to assist education policy makers in all countries in designing accurate and age-appropriate curricula for children and young people.
In some parts of the world, two out of three girls reported that they had no idea of what was happening to them when they began menstruating or during pregnancy. Childbirth complications are the second cause of death among the girls aged between 15 and 19, noted UNESCO.
The publication notably demonstrates that quality comprehensive sexuality education could provide information and guidance to young people about the transition from childhood to adulthood and the physical, social and emotional challenges they face.
Providing a comprehensive set of key concepts, topics and illustrative learning objectives to guide development of locally-adapted sexuality education program for learners aged 5 to 18+, the Technical Guidance also empowers children and young people to lead healthy, safe and productive lives.
"Based on the latest scientific evidence, the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education reaffirms the position of sexuality education within a framework of human rights and gender equality," said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.
The guidance, which "promotes structured learning about sexuality and relationships in a manner that is positive and centered on the best interest of the young person", could enable "national authorities to design comprehensive curricula that will have a positive impact on young people's health and well-being", she stressed.