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Integrating Comprehensive Sexuality Education into National Curriculums- including the National University of Laos

Vientiane Capital, 7 September 2021 - The National University of Laos (NUOL) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Sports, and UNESCO, today reviewed comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) implementation in Lao PDR and discussed the integration and implementation of CSE into higher education. The meeting was attended by officials from relevant departments, mass organizations, and civil society organizations.

 

Associate Professor Phosy Thiddavanh, Vice President of NUOL said “I would like to extend my sincere thanks to UNFPA and UNESCO for supporting this program. I am looking forward to today's meeting to discuss integrating CSE into higher education at the National University of Laos.

 

CSE is included in the National Adolescent and Youth Development Strategy and the 9th Education and Sports Development Plan. It aims to empower adolescents and young people, equipping them with essential knowledge and life skills to make informed decisions to lead a healthy life.

 

Over half of Lao PDRs population is aged below 25 years, investing in adolescents to access CSE gives them practical skills to manage self and emotions as well as changes to their bodies as they transition to adulthood.  CSE delivered to boys and girls contributes to reduce child marriage and unplanned pregnancies. This is part of achieving the government’s commitments at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) by 2030 and will accelerate progress towards the 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan, and set Lao to benefit from the possibility of a demographic dividend.

 

Associate Professor Doctor Lavanh Vongkhamsan, Deputy Director General of Higher Education Department, MOEs thanks UNFPA for the long-standing partnership in the education sector, he said “CSE is essential as it links to gender equality and women's empowerment. CSE provides life skills and strengthens human resources equipping young people with decision-making skills critical for their lives and future.

 

The government of Laos with support from UNFPA has integrated CSE into school curriculum nationwide with systems strengthening approach. With UNFPA’s support, the government integrated age-appropriate CSE into primary and secondary education. CSE topics include sexual and reproductive health, STI/HIV prevention, gender equality, relationships, child rights and safe use of information and communication technology.

 

Pre-service training is provided to teachers from eight Teacher Training Colleges and Vocational Education Development Institute to improve their skills in teaching CSE in schools and Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) colleges. For TVET students, CSE covers additional subjects such as family planning, making smart choices, communication skills and effective use of information and communication technology.

 

Ms. Mariam A. Khan, UNFPA Country Representative said “CSE or Phed Suk Sa is essential in enabling adolescents and young people to develop accurate and age-appropriate knowledge, attitudes and skills for healthy relationships, respect for diversity and gender equality. It helps youth reflect on social norms, manage emotions and empowers them to make safer choices.” She added that “CSE is even more important due to COVID19, as so many youth are out of school, the mental and psycho-social wellbeing of adolescents and young people is crucial for ensuring a resilient response and recovery.

 

For those out-of-school, CSE is delivered through the Nang-Noi Girls Groups (NNGG) led by the Non-Formal Education Department of the MOES. The NNGG mentors are identified and trained in this approach to provide essential life skills for out-of-school adolescent girls in rural communities. CSE is also integrated into sexual orientation and gender identity training (SOGIE) for LGBTIQ groups in collaboration with Proud to Be Us and  Gender Development Association promoting SRHR and gender diversity concerning the rights and privacy of individuals.

 

In adapting to the new normal due to COVID-19, UNFPA and MoEs collaborate with partners to provide CSE and mental health and psychosocial support to adolescents and young people through a telephone hotline, online learning, and ‘Noi Yakhoo’ mobile application. This innovative approach makes CSE accessible and ensures continuity of learning anytime and anywhere, even during school closure.

 

 

 

 

UNFPA, the UN's sexual and reproductive health agency, works in over 150 countries including Lao PDR, to achieve zero maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning and zero gender-based.

 

 

For more information please contact:

Syvongsay Changpitikoun

Programme Analyst - Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health

chanpitikoun@unfpa.org

 

 

Vanly Lorkuangming

Communications and Partnerships Analyst

lorkuangming@unfpa.org