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Poor-quality sexuality education has life-long consequence

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Poor-quality sexuality education has life-long consequences


Tuesday, 12th June 2018

The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) says poor-quality sexuality education in Irish schools is having a long-term negative impact on people's lives.

IFPA Chief Executive Niall Behan will speak in front of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills this afternoon, Tuesday 12th June, as the Committee continues its examination of the Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) curriculum.

In his opening statement, Mr Behan will tell the Committee members: "As a reproductive healthcare provider, the IFPA sees the impacts of poor-quality sexuality education on people’s lives at first hand every day – in our pregnancy counselling centres, in our clinics and in our training workshops. We see a profound gender inequality. It is women and girls who largely bear the burden of inadequate sexuality education, leaving them exposed to risks of sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies and gender-based violence."

Mr Behan will call for the RSE curriculum to be updated to include issues of concern to young people such as abortion, porn, consent, and gender equality. 

"There are some very good RSE programmes available which are based on best international practice and centred on the best interests of young people. However, the low status of RSE in schools is a significant barrier to implementation. Too often, RSE is left to once-off interventions by unqualified and religiously motivated, external groups. We urgently need to develop a cohort of highly-skilled specialist sexuality educators – including, but not limited to primary and secondary level teachers – who can deliver comprehensive sexuality education in schools, youth groups, care homes and other settings."

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