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A seminar at the American University of Beirut on a holistic approach to sex education in Lebanon || Newspapers (Arabic)


The Unit for Communication and Community Work at the Faculty of Health Sciences (American University of Beirut) organised a seminar last week on a “holistic approach to health education in Lebanon”.  The event was organised in collaboration with the reproductive and sexual health project for youth and discussed the concept of awareness raising in this subject and how this has evolved from providing a package of biology related information to a more holistic approach which includes an emotional and holistic approach which embodies values and behaviors.  This new educational development is largely due to the global transformation in the concept per se.  According to the president of Lebanese Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Faisal al-Quaq this transformation was largely due to the influence of the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle against violence and coercion on the vision of medical and public health schools.  According to al-Quaq, the new approach helps in limiting the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies and subsequently abortion and in strengthening young people’s sense of responsibility and non-violent and non-coercive behavior as well as respecting other people’s privacy and strengthening awareness of pleasure and intimate relationships as well as adopting safe sexual practices.

The seminar concluded that the concept of reproductive and sexual health is not uniform in all countries but is rather linked to historical, cultural and social factors.  Participants described a number of obstacles to strengthening sexual and reproductive health namely the position and attitude of decision makers and politicians, the limited research in the subject, the interference of religious institutions, the attitude of teachers and young people’s access to erroneous information.  In addition, the seminar noted that many schools in Lebanon are not willing to provide holistic sexual education focusing only on family planning or changes during puberty without focusing on sexual behavior and choices such as masturbation and homosexuality.

In a related vein, it should be noted that the Ministry of Higher Education issued a decision in 2009 to adopt the reproductive health curriculum within the framework of the project to integrate living skills especially sexual health in the national curriculum.  This project was kicked off by the Center for Educational Research and Development CERD in collaboration with UNFPA in 2004.  This project pointed out to the critical need for strengthening reproductive and sexual education in Lebanon especially given the lack of such information amongst teachers.

Source: Al-Safir 13 April 2013

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