Student's perspectives on school based sex education in Kaski district, Nepal
Introduction: Sex education in school helps youth acquire information skills and development behavioral skills to maintain a good sexual and reproductive health. But very little is known about students' perceptions towards sex education in school. Objective: The main aim of this research was to explore students perceptions, experiences and behavior towards sex education in school. It focused at finding out students' understanding of sexual and reproductive health, perceptions towards sex education. Further, this study analysed challenges to sex education and suggested ways to improve it. Methods: Data were collected through 10 personal interviews and 2 focus group discussions after selecting study participants from 3 schools through purposive sampling. Findings: Study showed that students understood sexual and reproductive health in different concepts like physical and emotional changes, family planning, contraceptives, child bearing, family structure etc. They perceived sex education very important for their future while they talked less about its present importance. However the students behavior was found negative towards sex education. Participants said that boys in the class laugh, are disruptive and ask questions which put girls in shame while girls are mostly silent with their head down, feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable. They said that studying together with boys/girls and being taught by opposite gendered teacher is causing discomfort. Students were not satisfied with the teacher's teaching practices, his lack of comfort and lack of teaching materials. They suggested for separate classes for boys and girls during sex education course, same gendered teacher, effective teaching practices and enough teaching materials, openness in discussing things related to sex as ways to improve current sex education. Conclusion: Students have constructed their own understanding of sexual and reproductive health. Students have believed that sex education is important to their future but they show negative response in the class. They have stated some challenges to current sex education which need to be addressed to improve effectiveness of sex education.