Health and Sexuality Education in Portugal: Principal?

School must contribute to the health and well-being of its students. In recent decades, a lot of research has been devoted to this question, identifying the programs that are based on a holistic dimension as the most effective ones. One of the most proven strategies to promote health and well-being of young people is education and the promotion of Health Education in school context. In this regard it should be noted that the promotion of Health Education integrates several areas, namely Nutrition, Physical activity, Sexuality, STIs, HIV, Substance use, Violence at school, and mental health, from which Sexuality, STIs and HIV have been prioritized. In addition, the Ministry of Education established measures and specific guidelines regarding both the promotion of Health Education and Sexuality Education in a school context.

Health and Sexuality Education
Health and Sexuality Education

These include the inclusion of Health Education in the School’s Educational Project,the appointment of a coordinating teacher,the existence of mechanisms of evaluation,a minimum of six hours a year of Sexuality Education in the elementary school (first six years of school) and a minimum of twelve hours a year in the other school levels.Sexuality Education should be provided in a non-disciplinary curriculum area as well as cross-sectionally in all the school subjects contemplating Sexuality Education topics.In addition schools should create an office (the Health Office) to provide support to students, at an individual level, thus guaranteeing that their individual needs such as the clarification of doubts and the referral to structures such as the local Health Centre are made whenever necessary; and compete for budget allocation to the promotion of Health Education.

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