Health promotion in schools
An effective school health programme is one of the strategic means used to address important health risks among young people and to engage the education sector in efforts to change the educational, social and economic conditions that put adolescents at risk.
As the number of young adolescents being enrolled in schools is increasing all the time, school-based sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education is becoming one of the most important ways to help adolescents recognise and prevent risks and improve their reproductive health.
Studies show that school-based reproductive health education is linked with better health and reproductive health outcomes, including delayed sexual initiation, a lower frequency of sexual intercourse, fewer sexual partners and increased contraceptive use. Many programmes have had positive effects on the factors that determine risky sexual behaviours, by increasing awareness of risk and knowledge about STIs and pregnancy, values and attitudes toward sexual topics, self-efficacy (negotiating condom use or refusing unwanted sex) and intentions to abstain or restrict the number of sexual partners.
Objectives of skills-based health education in schools
- Prevent/reduce the number of unwanted, high-risk pregnancies
- Prevent/reduce risky behaviours and improve knowledge, attitudes and skills for prevention of STIs including HIV
- Prevent sexual harassment, gender-based violence and aggressive behaviour
- Reduce drop-out rates in girls' education due to pregnancy
- Promote girls' right to education.