This oral statement was broadcasted at the 53rd Session of the Human Rights Council Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Education. Watch the video statement here.
I am Bipana Shrestha and I am making this statement on behalf of the Asian Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW), Right Here Right Now (RHRN) Bangladesh and Nepal, Rutgers, and CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality.
We welcome your report and commend the attention paid to the rights of adolescents and children including those who are out-of-school to learn about important issues such as Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and acknowledging the States’ reservation to respect and protect this element of education. In line with this, we request to address this issue and strengthen the commitments made by governments to integrate CSE into the national curriculum as well as into non formal education for out of school adolescents as per the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (ITGSE) .
It is encouraging that in some countries efforts have been made to ensure the delivery of CSE through legal and policy measures. However, in practice, in most of the countries particularly in the Asia Pacific, the curriculum does not comprehensively cover topics of sexuality and sexual health and is only mandated to include the components of reproductive health and STIs.
We, therefore call on the member states to take the following actions:
- Allocate adequate resources for the comprehensive integration of CSE into the national curriculum.
- Intersectoral partnership between all tiers of government, UN agencies, development sector, civil society organizations(CSOs), media etc. should be strengthened to ensure effective implementation, accountability and policy monitoring.
- Efforts should be made to engage parents, religious leaders, and community members to promote a supportive environment for CSE.
- Digital learning opportunities especially for the marginalized should be improved with increased access to CSE and access to SRHR information.
- It is crucial to implement capacity-building initiatives for teachers, including the use of interactive teaching materials, to confidently deliver comprehensive sexuality education.