The journey towards comprehensive sexuality education - Global status report



How are countries advancing towards comprehensive sexuality education for all? A global snapshot

Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) is central to children and young people’s well-being, equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need to make healthy and responsible choices in their lives.

This report draws on multiple data sources to provide analysis of countries’ progress towards delivering good quality school-based CSE to all learners. 85 per cent of 155 countries surveyed have policies or laws relating to sexuality education, with considerably more countries reporting policies to mandate delivery at secondary education level than at primary level. However, the existence of policy and legal frameworks do not always equate to comprehensive content or strong implementation.

Most countries report that they have some curricula in place but more detailed analysis suggests that curricula often lacks the breadth of topics needed to make sexuality education effective and relevant. Moreover, while efforts to scale-up teacher training are evident in a range of settings, research with teachers shows that many feel they lack confidence to deliver sexuality education. Surveys show that students frequently feel that they received information too late and would have preferred sexuality education to have started earlier in their schooling.

There is evidence of opposition to CSE across a range of settings, often reflecting misinformation about the content, purpose or impact of such education. In many countries involvement of communities, including parents, school officials, religious leaders, media and young people themselves, has created a favourable environment for CSE.

Recommendations to countries in this report include:

  • Clear mandates and budgets to ensure implementation of policies and programmes that support the availability of good quality comprehensive sexuality education for all learners.

  • Invest in quality curriculum reform and teacher training.

  • Strengthen monitoring of the implementation of CSE.