Comprehensive Sexuality was first introduced as Life Skill Education to the two Colleges of Education in 2009. Supported by UNFPA many faculties from PCE and SCE were trained in curriculum content and facilitation skills necessary for teaching sexuality education through the ten core life skill values. Facilitators were also coached in LSE in Thailand and India, thus forming a core group of LSE tutors to head the implementation of LSE in the colleges. The first draft of Comprehensive Sexuality Education Facilitator’s Manual was published in 2014. Thereafter facilitators from PCE, with support from MoE, conducted annual in-service trainings for numerous groups of schoolteachers on life skill, sexuality and reproductive health. A sum total of 7,106 teachers and School Guidance Counselors were trained in LSE (Review of Life Skills Education, 2014). LSE was introduced in schools through School Health Coordinators as a measure to promote and protect the health of adolescent in schools. Before the implementation of LSE in the two teacher education colleges, Bhutanese school teachers did not have an opportunity for pre-service trainings that would prepare them to competently and sensitively address sexuality within the classrooms.
Pilot LSE workshops were conducted in PCE and SCE to ground student in the knowledge and skills required to confidently and responsibly teach LSE within the Bhutanese classrooms. It was felt that school setting offers a timely opportunity to communicate with a large number of Bhutanese adolescent scientifically accurate, age-appropriate and non–judgmental information on sexuality and reproductive health before they become sexually active. Consequently, equipping student with the knowledge, facilitation skills and comfort and confidence level needed for the effective delivery of sexuality education is crucial for the success of LSE in classrooms. LSE was officially offered as a non-credited 30-hour module in both PCE and SCE in 2014. The College of Language and Culture Studies (CLCS), Taktse Trongsa adopted the module in 2016, with other colleges under RUB planning to follow suit in future.
In Spring 2018, the module’s title was revised as Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to reflect the changing ground realities: LSE tutors and students felt the need to emphasis sexuality education while impressing the ten core life skills as a tool to impart sexuality education. This was, largely, due to the growing acceptance of CSE, by teachers, students and Bhutanese society as a whole, as an important topic that young people should have access to. Two CSE International Seminar, co-hosted by PCE and UNFPA, also brought together educationist, students, and policy makers to establish linkages at the national level promoting improved implementation of sexuality education in Bhutanese educational settings. Second, in alignment with numerous international researches, studies conducted by UNFPA and RUB reaffirmed that the implementation of CSE has enabled Bhutanese children and adolescent to develop positive attitudes and skills that contribute to safe, healthy and positive relationship in their lives.
Why do we need to revise CSE?
The field of sexuality education has evolved rapidly since CSE was first implemented in the three colleges. The implementation of the programme across different schools and colleges within the country has engendered improved understanding of the concepts while emphasizing new emerging topics that needs to be addressed. In particular, new areas such as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI), mental health, and the wide spread use of media have received increasing recognition as prevalent issues that need to be addressed through the module. There was also a pressing need to include laws and policies related to gender-based violence, marital rights and substance abuse in the curriculum. Likewise, inconsistent implementation of sexuality education in various classrooms has given rise to a number of facilitation problems, while underlining the need to incorporate some form of assessment tool for the module.
Acknowledging these emergences, UNFPA, in collaboration with CSE faculties from PCE, SCE and CLCS as well as Women and Child’s division, RBP and Legal officer from RUB, came together in a Writer’s Workshop( spring 2018) to develop a common curriculum framework based on international standards that would guide the module. The core contents, information and facilitation skills are significantly informed by the guidelines on sexuality education foregrounded in the books, It is all One Curriculum, International Technical guidance on Sexuality Education and UNFPA Operational Guidance for Comprehensive Sexuality Education: A focus on human right and gender. Based on a new set of research-based evidences, together with a review of the curriculum frameworks, the available materials – Comprehensive Sexuality Education Facilitator’s Manual, Comprehensive School Health Programme and Facilitation Training Instructor’s Manual were revised. The content of the module was updated to reflect the latest evidence while addressing the emerging needs of today’s youth in line with international human rights conventions and Penal Code Act of Bhutan 2004 and Penal Code Amendment Act of Bhutan (2011). The activities, learning outcomes and assessment tools were selected from various available materials, which were incorporated after suitable modifications. Thus, this course pack offers an evidence-informed curriculum with an updated set of key concepts, learning outcomes and facilitating skills, while retaining the original key features and content.
How is the course pack structured?
The course pack includes 7 units lasting approximately 60 hours. The introductory unit provides the definition and rationale for CSE in schools while the other units present key concepts and topics that need to be covered. All of the units follow a uniform format: rationale, learning outcome, content, activity, time, materials required, procedure, debriefing, assessment and additional readings. The inclusion of additional activities allows flexibility for CSE tutors to tailor their lessons according to their own need and context. Evidence-based papers and key findings are also included in the Appendix.
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