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A Comprehensive Sexuality Educational Programme in Iceland: the Long-Term View

A Comprehensive Sexuality Educational Programme in Iceland: the Long-Term View

In 1991 a new comprehensive sexuality education programme from the United States, Human Sexuality Values and Choices (HSVC), was introduced widely to teachers and school health nurses in the public schools in Iceland. This was the first time that a comprehensive sexuality educational programme for grades eight to ten was introduced to the public schools in Iceland.

The curriculum consisted of an handbook for teachers, a 120 minute video and a handbook for parents. Now, fifteen years later, the experience of using the HSVC programme and the current situation will be explored. Methods: A pilot test of the HSVC was conducted in 1990 in seven schools in Iceland based on a quasy-experimental design before the programme was introduced. In 1993 a national survey was conducted among 60 sexuality educational teachers and in 1994 three school health nurses were interviewed to explore their attitudes towards sexuality education. In 2005 there were 22 school health nurses surveyed about their knowledge and use of the HSVC.
The HSVC programme increased the knowledge of students exposed. Teachers and school health nurses liked the programme and found the guidelines helpful. The parental part was found to be of great importance. Some have found it hard to get enough hours to teach the subject and the video has not been culturally sensitive. The study in 1994 showed that 63% of teachers were using the programme and in 2005 68% nurses knew about the programme and 40% had used it.

The HSVC was found to contribute greatly to the imrovement of provision of sexuality education in Iceland. However, many teachers and school health nurses experienced a lack of support. More training courses were needed and an Icelandic video would also have made a difference. Changes in policy and limited resources contributed to the situation.


Conference: Demo