WHO Regional Office for Europe and BZgA
Standards for Sexuality Education in Europe
The “Standards for Sexuality Education in Europe” were elaborated jointly by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) in close cooperation with a group of 20 experts from nine European countries. They are to apply to all European WHO Member States.
The standards were developed as a reaction to major differences in the quality of sexuality education in school. The sexuality education given in schools in many countries in the European region concentrates solely on the communication of biological facts, neglecting social and psychological aspects, as well as the communication of skills. This one-sided orientation and the poor quality of the sexuality education provided have negative consequences for young people in the European region: many countries are recording an increase in sexually transmitted infections and teenage pregnancies.
The “Standards for Sexuality Education” comprise a general introduction to the importance of sexuality education in school and the underlying concepts. In addition, a comprehensive overview provides information on the subjects that should be covered by the curriculum for the individual age groups. The special feature of this matrix is that, above and beyond the topics, it also indicates which skills children and young people should acquire, and which attitudes should be promoted. The standards are based on a positive interpretation of sexuality, which they consider to be a part of physical and mental health. Such topics as HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancies and sexual violence are embedded in all-embracing education that focuses on the self-determination of the individual and people’s responsibility for themselves and others.
The WHO Regional Office for Europe and the BZgA will support the dissemination and implementation of the standards in the framework of workshops.