Although many schools in The Netherlands include some form of sexuality education in their curriculum, it is not yet obligatory to do so. This means that whether a child receives sexuality education in school depends entirely on the willingness of the school to include this subject. Rutgers WPF and other NGOs in The Netherlands have long been pushing for sexuality education to be part of all school curricula and to be included in the ‘core goals’ which indicate obligatory subjects to schools. Youth need information and skills to express boundaries and wishes in the right way, structured opportunities to explore their attitudes and values and to practice life skills they need to be able to make free and informed choices about their sexual lives.
In recent years, political support for obligatory sexuality education in schools has been growing, due to an increase in homophobia and raised awareness on sexual abuse. After a majority of the Dutch parliament has asked the Dutch government to implement obligatory sexuality education in schools twice, in December 2009 and spring 2011, the government finally agreed to include education on sexuality and sexual diversity in primary and secondary school on November 16th 2011, which was confirmed by the Council of Ministers last week. The ‘core goals’ will be adapted and if all goes according to plan, schools will be teaching sexuality education as of August 2012 – a step forward for sexual and reproductive health and rights for The Netherlands! Assistance and monitoring of schools and teachers is necessary to ensure implementation of the new ‘core goals’.
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