Barriers to Implementing CSE

Even with decades of research supporting CSE, it is not always easily implemented in communities. Social opposition, in the form of resistance or backlash to comprehensive sexuality education, may negatively affect several areas:

  • policy-makers’ and civil servants’ diligence in taking the necessary measures;

  • lack of access to appropriate curricula and training resources covering a comprehensive range of key CSE topics;

  • teachers’ attitudes and readiness to deliver a curriculum and create the right classroom conditions for effective teaching and learning;

  • students’ motivation; and

  • parents’ cooperation

(Source: UNESCO, 2019 – “Facing the Facts: The Case for Comprehensive Sexuality Education”)

Additional obstacles include:

  • Systemic challenges facing the education sector, such as human and financial constraints, crumbling infrastructures, competing priorities, etc.

  • Turnover of key personnel within the education sector, both at the higher levels for building and sustaining political commitment, and at the school level to ensure adequate numbers of teachers are trained. Changes in educational administration (such as a change in minister) not only leads to loss of political capital, but also impacts on implementation strategies and their momentum.

  • Coordination and collaboration remain weak in many countries. These have been strengthened in some countries, but much more needs to be done to ensure all stakeholders at all levels (national, regional and local) understand their roles and responsibilities, and mechanism are in place to enable quality implementation (and possibly, scale-up) of CSE.

  • Weak linkages between schools and ASRH services and low demand creation in many countries affects the usage of SRH services, and thus the SRH outcomes of adolescents and young people.

  • Financial constraints, resulting in a number of countries not being able to implement or scale up CSE. External support can play a key role, but neither implementation nor scale-up will be complete, and long-term sustainability possible, if the government does not contribute.

(Source: UNESCO, 2017 – “CSE Scale-Up in Practice: Case Studies From Eastern And Southern Africa”)

This toolkit will address many of these barriers, and provide links to numerous resources that can support communities in overcoming systemic and financial barriers to effective CSE programme implementation.