Training of Trainers on Comprehensive sexuality and life skills education

A ten day workshop on Training of Trainers (TOT) on comprehensive sexuality and life skills education started on July18 in Hanoi, which is jointly supported by UNFPA and UNESCO in Viet Nam for the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET).
Nâng cao chất lượng giáo dục giới tính, tình dục toàn diện và kỹ năng sống cho học sinh
Workshop on Training of Trainers (TOT) on comprehensive sexuality and life skills education. (Source: UNFPA)

According to the 2019 population and housing census, Vietnam recorded the highest proportion of young people in the country’s history, creating the potential for a demographic dividend to accelerate the country’s socio-economic growth. Vietnam now has 20.4 million young people aged 10-24, accounting for 21 percent of the total population.

Evidence shows that Vietnamese young people are becoming sexually active at an earlier age. However, they still lack vital knowledge and life-skills to negotiate safe sex and consensual relationships, and face considerable barriers to accessing SRH services.

Sexuality education for young people remains limited, particularly amongst those who are ethnic minorities, migrants or living in rural areas. As a consequence, young people are at risk of early and unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortion, and sexually transmitted infections including HIV.

This highlights the need for sexual and reproductive health information and services for adolescents and youth. The SDGs survey conducted by Viet Nam’s General Statistic Office in 2021 in collaboration with UNFPA and UNICEF showed that only 72.2 per cent of married women are satisfied with modern contraceptives, and this percentage even drops further to 50.3 percent for unmarried women.

The problem seems to be acute among young people, whose unmet need for family planning is estimated four times higher than married women (10 percent vs 40 percent respectively).

Addressing the 1st day of the training, Mr. Vu Minh Duc, Director of the Department of Teachers and Education Administrators, Ministry of Education and Training, stressed that currently, sexuality education has become an integral part of quality education. Students need to be equipped with basic and essential knowledge on comprehensive sexuality education that helps them initially understand sexuality and how to protect themselves.

"The lack of thorough preparation for students on these issues not only leaves them to be vulnerable to violence and other negative consequences to health, but also indicates the failure of responsible people in fulfilling their obligations to the entire new generation", he said.

Participants of the training are 30 national trainers, who have been selected from the Educational Science Research Institute, the National Youth Academy, and pedagogical departments in Hanoi, Hai Phong, Thai Nguyen, Nghe An, Da Nang, Khanh Hoa, Can Tho and Ho Chi Minh cities.

After the training, national trainers will support provincial education departments and teachers of secondary schools in three UNFPA-supported provinces of Yen Bai, Khanh Hoa and Vinh Long, as well as other provinces supported by other donors and with the national budget to deliver the approved age-appropriate, culturally-acceptable CSE and LSE. National trainers will also support private education facilities to implement CSE-LSE programmes if requested.

Ms. Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative in Vietnam, expressed her appreciation for the commitment of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Education and Training, and other implementing partners to ensure that young people's right to sexual and reproductive health is respected.

“Equipping young people with essential knowledge about CSE and LSE will empower them to shape their lives in the way they want. That means that we can reduce risky behaviors of adolescents and youth, while promoting positive, responsible and mature approaches to life”, said Ms. Kitahara, at the opening of the training.

According to Mr. Christian Manhart, UNESCO Representative to Vietnam, comprehensive sexuality education plays a vital role in promoting the health and well-being of children and young people, in particular girls.

Vietnam, for many years, has been interested in ensuring that learners have access to sexuality education such as sexual and reproductive health, HIV prevention or prevention of gender-based violence. Since 2018, with the support from UNESCO, UNFPA and UNICEF, Vietnam has developed a holistic approach covering a wide range of comprehensive sexuality education.

"UNESCO pledges its support to the Ministry of Education and Training and other partners in the national efforts to make sexuality education increasingly comprehensive and expand coverage with the aim of reaching all at different stages of their education,” said Mr. Christian Manhart.

Well-trained, supporting and motivated teachers play a key role in the delivery of high-quality sexuality and life skills education. Therefore, the ten-day training will focus on: Introduction to Sexuality and Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) including Life Skills; Gender, Rights, and Values; Gender-based Violence (GBV) and Staying Safe; CSE Teaching and Learning; Relationships and Sexuality; Practice Teaching Preparation; Communication & Managing Pressure; and Sexual and Reproductive Health.
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