School-based sex education in Western Nepal: uncomfortable for both teachers and students

Reprod Health Matters. 2006 Nov;14(28):156-61. doi: 10.1016/S0968-8080(06)28255-7.


The National Adolescent Health and Development Strategy (2000) of Nepal considers adolescents a key target group for information and services. The extent to which sex education is being provided in schools has received little attention, however. At higher secondary level, students are supposed to be taught basic sex education using a chapter in a textbook called Health, Population and Environment. Little is known about how or how well this material is covered. In a study in 2002 among adolescents in eight schools in the Nawalparasi District in the Western Region of Nepal, we interviewed eight teachers responsible for teaching this subject. We also collected survey data from 451 students and held four focus group discussions with 26 of them. We found that adolescents in these schools did not appear to be getting the information they needed. Most of the teachers did not want to deal with sensitive topics and feared censure by their colleagues and society. Some lacked the skills to give such instruction. Many students also felt uncomfortable with the topics. The challenge is to strengthen sex education, make it more appropriate for the students and ensure that teachers are more comfortable and able to give instruction on the topic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Curriculum*
  • Data Collection
  • Faculty*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Nepal
  • Schools
  • Sex Education*
  • Social Conditions
  • Students*