Tunisia has become the first country in the Middle East and North Africa to introduce sex education into its school curricula, Tunisian news publication Kapitalis reports.
The initiative comes as part of a collaborative effort by Tunisia’s Ministry of Education, the Tunisian Association for Reproductive Health (Association Tunisienne de la Santé de la Reproduction – ATSR), the United Nations Population Fund and the Arab Institute for Human Rights.
“It is very important for children to be introduced to sex education so they are aware of themselves and others around them,” ATSR Executive Director Arzak Khaneetch said, according to The New Arab.
The program, which will be piloted in 12 schools across Tunisia, targets children aged five and above and will reportedly be implemented starting January 2020, but not as an independent module, according to Khaneetch. Rather, sex education will be incorporated in a number of school subjects, namely Science, French, and Arabic.
Khaneetch also added that the different sex education syllabi will focus on issues of consent and safety and will be taught in a “religiously sensitive” manner. She also noted that classes for prepubescent children will teach basic notions about intimacy and modesty in order to provide them with the tools to recognize and protect themselves against sexually predatory behavior.