Sexuality education in Italy 2016-2020: a national survey investigating coverage, content and evaluation of school-based educational activities

Case Studies & Research
p. 1-13
Periodical title
Sex Education

Comprehensive sexuality education is an important means of promoting sexual well-being amongst young people and is key to preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, sexuality education is not currently included in the formal curriculum in Italian schools. The aim of this study was to develop an inventory of school-based sexuality education (SBSE) activities carried out by external providers and implemented in Italy from 2016 to 2020. A desk review and survey were carried out. In the desk review online documents on STI prevention were analysed. The survey investigated the providers, objectives, content and methods used to implement SBSE activities in secondary schools. Findings revealed a highly heterogeneous situation in terms of geographical coverage, service providers, objectives and evaluation. Some SBSE activities were classified as adopting a comprehensive approach to sexuality education, while the majority focused on STI prevention, and many were single-session activities. Although most activities were said to have been evaluated no results were available. The data showed that SBSE is not systematically and equally delivered across Italy. Action is needed to provide young people with evidence-based, age-appropriate and accurate education about sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing.

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