Sex Ed. in Sri Lanka
Sexual Health Education is weak, if not non-existent, in Sri Lanka mainly because of the fact that societal beliefs and biases against adolescent sexuality and reproductive health remaining the same despite the high level of literacy and a good record in the performance of the Public Health system of the country. The decline in the age at menarche and the rise in the age at marriage have prolonged adolescence. Though there is no scientific data on the prevalence of premarital sex, it can be safely assumed to be rising mainly because of the above stated reason.
It has been established that lack of comprehensive knowledge among adolescents about their reproductive physiology and sexual health. They are widely ignorant about risks associated with unprotected sex.
According to a survey conducted in 2005 :
- Only 57% of adolescents in Sri Lanka were aware of the existence of STDs.
- Symptoms and signs of STDs and knowledge on prevention was known to less than 20% of the adolescents.
- Less than 70% of early adolescents (10-13 age group) were aware of the physiological changes and processes taking place in their own bodies.
- Knowledge of 14-19 year olds on matters relating to reproduction, conception, sex hormones, secondary sexual characteristics etc is very limited. Only less than 50% of the adolescents could answer these questions correctly.
Substantial portion of adolescents in Sri Lanka leave school after secondary education and thereafter they may have little or no opportunity to obtain knowledge of reproductive matters. (almost 75 % of adolescents are school students). Although the 1993 demographic and health survey revealed a high demand of family planning knowledge among youth and adolescents, there are still no formal family planning programmes for young people. As far as we know no viable education in schools on family planning and sexual health exits in the secondary school system in Sri Lanka.
Beyond Borders Sri Lanka has been engaged in awareness raising programmes on HIV/AIDs stemming from the Beyond Borders Festival in 2006. HIV/AIDS is also one of the global themes of Beyond Borders with all country groups working in this particular action area.
As an attempt to create a sustainable model for awareness-raising which leads to behavioral change, Beyond Borders Sri Lanka will be conducting a Training of Trainers Programme on Young people’s Sexuality and HIV/AIDS for young school leaders in Colombo. The objectives of the project are outlined below.
1. To conduct a Training of Trainers (ToT) programme on Sexuality and HIV/AIDS for young school leaders in Colombo.
2. Through the above (1) to create a pool of young people amongst schools in Colombo to create an interest in working at school level on HIV AIDS and sexual education.
3. To develop action plans workable at school level and to implement them through the trainers trained through the ToT programme.
4. To create a support group comprising of organisations and established activists in the field of HIV AIDS to provide support for initiatives undertaken by the Trainers trained through the ToT programme.
To widen the ToT programme outside Colombo and to model it as an informal mode for the provision of sexual education in schools.
For more information about the programme pelase do email us on slbeyondborders [at] gmail.com
Related Links : Young People and HIV/AIDS Fact Sheet – Sri Lanka