The National Council of Students (CNE), the National Alliance of Romanian Student Organizations (ANOSR) and the Youth Council of Romania (YCR) express their disappointment with the way decision makers appreciate the importance of sex education in schools, blocking students’ access to information necessary for their personal development. We firmly express our desire to contribute to building an educational system that meets the needs and interests of students in Romania, the reason we was and continue to be supporters of the implementation of sex education in schools, an integral part of health education, which should be accessible to all students.
The lack of access to sex education was promoted by religious organizations, but also by the Romanian Orthodox Church, and now parliamentarians support the blocking of sex education in schools by introducing a parental agreement. Just as in all other disciplines of study no parental agreement is required to legitimize the importance of the information studied, we should not condition young people’s access to sex education by a subjectively granted parental agreement. An efficient educational system has the capacity to establish which are the disciplines that must be studied in order to acquire the key competencies specific to the graduate’s profile.
Sex education was first introduced in schools in 1955 in Sweden, which was followed in the 1970s and 1980s by several Western European countries. In the 1990s and 2000, countries such as France, the United Kingdom and then Portugal or closer to us, Ukraine and Estonia joined too.
Currently, in most European Union countries, sex education is compulsory in schools, although it differs in terms of quality and content. Countries with extensive experience in teaching sex education include the Nordic countries, France and Germany. In the Romanian educational system, ex education continues to be a taboo subject, but also the central element of several ideological debates. In this sense, we believe that the health of students must take precedence, and decision-makers must promote educational policies in relation to the reality of our country, a country that ranks first in the European Union in the number of adolescent mothers. (1)
According to NIS Tempo data (2), in 2018, 727 adolescents under the age of 15 and 18,753 between the ages of 15-19 became mothers in Romania. Of teenage mothers under 15, 19 are at second birth and one at third. As for teenage mothers aged 15-19, 3,929 are in the second, 731 in the third, 72 in the fourth, 8 in the fifth and one in the sixth. At the same time, 7,5% of the total cases of cervical cancer diagnosed annually in Europe come from Romania, an incidence 3 times higher than the average in the European Union. Romania ranks first in European Union countries in term of cervical cancer mortality (14.2 per 1000,000 women). (3)
Why sex education in Romanian education system?
- Because not all young people have access to correct information on contraceptive methods, but also prevention to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. According to the Save the Children study, 6 out of 10 underage mothers have never had access to information about reproductive health or sex education, and 12% of underage mothers have received information about sex education from neighbors/ friends/ relatives or from Internet. At the same time, 40% of underage mothers consider that their income is not enough for what is strictly necessary, a significantly higher percentage compared to other people in the community (4);
- Because in many families from Romania, reproductive health is not a topic of free discussion, and many students do not have parents who can respond to information on sex education that should be provided by specialist in the field;
- Because young people do not receive support and counseling in the context of underfunding family planning offices;
- Because, although some information on sex education can be viewed on the Internet, not all student have access to the Internet (approximately 900,000 students do not have access to digital educational resources) and not all available resources are verified information.
Authorities have to focus their efforts on correctly informing all young people about reproductive health, and this information must be delivered to them professionally from pre-university education, as an effective method of preventing unwanted pregnancies and receiving sexually transmitted diseases. We are at a turning point in society, which exacerbates the existing problems in the education system and requires a change of mentality, so that young people have direct access to quality sex education.
- Eurostat, [demo_fordager];
- NIS Tempo Online, POP201C Tabel – Născuți vii după rangul născutului viu, pe grupe de vârstă ale mamei;
- National Institute of Public Health