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UNFPA, UNESCO work for long-term sexual education in Vietnam
Minh Vu 15:22, 2022/07/20
National trainers will deliver the approved age-appropriate, culturally-acceptable comprehensive sexuality education and life skills to both state and private education facilities.

A 10-day workshop on Training of Trainers (TOT) on comprehensive sexuality and life skills education is taking place in Hanoi to continue their missions in the long-term drive in Vietnam. 

Obviously, well-trained, supporting and motivated teachers play a key role in the delivery of high-quality sexuality and life skills education as Vietnam records 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.

 Participants of the 10-day training workshop starting on July 18 in Hanoi. Photos: UNFPA  

For that reason, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) jointly supported the training, which focuses on introducing Sexuality and Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) including Life Skills.

The course focuses on 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.

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 five major cities of Hanoi, Haiphong, Danang, Cantho and Ho Chi Minh City and provinces of Thai Nguyen, Nghe An and Khanh Hoa.

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 programs if requested.

 UNFPA Representative in Vietnam Naomi Kitahara delivers the opening speech at the workshop.

“Equipping young people with essential knowledge on CSE and LSE will empower them in shaping 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 UNFPA Representative in Vietnam Naomi Kitahara.

Sharing the same idea, Christian Manhart, UNESCO Representative to Vietnam, said: “Comprehensive sexuality education plays a vital role in promoting the health and well-being of children and young people, in particular girls.”

He said 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,” he affirmed.

According to Vietnam's 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% 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 sexual and reproductive health (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.

 Vu Minh Duc, Director of the Department of Teachers and Education Administrators, the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET), speaks at the event. 

 

In this regard, sexuality education has become an integral part of a 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, according to Vu Minh Duc, Director of the Department of Teachers and Education Administrators, the Ministry of Education and Training.

“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 noted.

The thorny issues in Vietnam highlight the need for sexual and reproductive health information and services for adolescents and youth. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) survey conducted by Vietnam’s General Statistic Office in 2021 in collaboration with UNFPA and UNICEF showed that only 72.2% of married women are satisfied with modern contraceptives, and this percentage even drops further to 50.3% 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% and 40%, respectively).

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