Schools Need More STD Classes, Report Says

Students and teachers alike need more AIDS awareness programs, according to an extensive report issued by the government and an activist group.

“Strengthening HIV/AIDS/ STDs Prevention Education for Secondary Schools in Cambo­dia,” a final report of the country’s sexual education campaign, was the collaborative effort of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Unesco and the World AIDS Foundation, evaluating HIV/AIDS /STD training activities for 9th-grade students in 11 provinces across the country between June 23 and June 25 2000.

The research project gauges the effectiveness of the 1998-2000 sexual education campaign that exposed 55,695 grade 9 students and 22,000 grade 12 students to training workshops.

Learning achievements rose dramatically during the evaluation period, with the number of students scoring High Level (72 to 100 points) increasing from

52 percent to 82.7 percent.

Female students scored higher than their male classmates, as did Phnom Penh students over their rural counterparts. The 3,514 students participating in the evaluative program were tested before and after receiving instruction.

Teachers and students showed great enthusiasm for the program, calling for workshops to be conducted on a yearly basis.

Because cultural taboos prevented some female instructors from comfortably teaching certain subjects, like condom use, it was recommended that certain classes should be separated by sex. The study also suggests that HIV/AIDS/STD prevention programs be taught as a separate subject for at least three months among 9th- and 12-grade students, and should be available to “out-of-school youth and adults” through mass media and informal educational venues.

Educational reforms passed in 1998 created the School Health Department within the Ministry of Education to integrate hygiene and health messages into the educational system.

The study is available to all secondary and higher education institutions, as well as NGOs working in the educational sector.



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