Sexuality is afundamental aspect of human life. It has physical, psychological, spiritual,social, economic, political and cultural dimensions. Sexuality cannot beunderstood without reference to gender. Diversity is a fundamentalcharacteristic of sexuality. School settings provide an important opportunity toreach large numbers of young people with sexuality education before they becomesexually active, as well as offering an appropriate structure (i.e. the formalcurriculum) within which such education is provided.
By SexualityEducation we mean any classes or talks in school that discuss humanreproduction, communication and relationships, gender equality and norms,puberty, abstinence, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, pregnancyprevention and the like. These topics may have been taught in a separatesexuality education course, or as part of another course, like health orscience. The primary goal of sexuality education is that children and youngpeople become equipped with the knowledge, skills and values to makeresponsible choices about their sexual and social relationships in a worldaffected by HIV and other sexual and reproductive health hazards.
TheInternational Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education developed by UNESCO incollaboration with UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEFand WHO proposes a “basic minimum package” of topics and learning objectivesfor a sexuality education programme for children and young people from 5 to 18+years of age. All learning objectives address children’s and young people’sneed for information and right to education. While only some of these learningobjectives are specifically designed to reduce risky sexual behavior, othersattempt to change social norms, facilitate communication of sexual issues,remove social and attitudinal barriers to sexuality education and increaseknowledge. The whole package is defined as “Comprehensive Sexuality Education(CSE)”.
The terminology of CSE is used here for consistency purpose. However,CSE can be understood and called differently in China, e.g. sexual healtheducation, puberty/adolescence education, etc. At the school level, elements ofCSE might be taught under different subjects/courses, e.g. psychological health education, physicalhealth education, morality education, and science, etc.