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Religious Extremism and Comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Secondary and Higher Secondary Education in Bangladesh

 

Bangladesh is a country that has been facing increasing incidences of religious extremism that in turn have been influencing the development of policies, despite its proclamation of secularity as one of the four fundamental principles of state policy. Amidst several socio-economic issues, the country still lacks a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights education (CSRHRE), resulting in negative sexual and reproductive health outcomes for its youth population. One of the major issues facing an effective implementation of CSRHRE in Bangladesh is the extreme rigidity pertaining to how one should behave in Islam, resulting in SRHR education being perceived as “embarrassing” and potentially leads to rape and sexual harassment, which is especially true for Madrasahs in general. The current publication aims to qualitatively study the role of religious extremism in the inclusion or exclusion of said CSRHRE in the secondary and higher secondary education system in the country, and also exploring associations that religious extremism may have with the teaching, learning and implementation of such education. The study also gives recommendations on the effective implementation of CSRHRE, noting the importance of collaborative efforts from various stakeholders of curriculum, including teachers, students and the community.