Daglig leder Tor-Hugne Olsen sin tale under pressekonferansen til I’M SET-prosjektet
I’M SET-prosjektet er et bilateralt samarbeid mellom Kypros og Norge, som involverer aktørene Cyprus Family Planning Association, det kypriotiske Barneombudet, Pedagogical Institute of Cyprus, Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies og Sex og Politikk. Prosjektets mål er å fremme de seksuelle rettighetene til elever i alderen 13-15 år gjennom implementeringen av obligatorisk, helhetlig og rettighetsbasert seksualundervisning på offentlige skoler i Kypros.
I forbindelse med sluttføringen av prosjektet arrangerte partnerne en pressekonferanse tirsdag 13. oktober 2015 på EU-huset på Kypros, i samarbeid med Europaparlamentets nasjonale informasjonskontor. På pressekonferansen ble resultatene i prosjektet presentert, i tillegg til de sentrale funnene som ble avdekket i implementeringsfasen. Blant resultatene er utviklingen av en lærermanual om seksualundervisning, knyttet opp til relevante kompetansemål i læreplanverket.
Les talen som daglig leder, Tor-Hugne Olsen, holdt under pressekonferansen:
Let me begin by saying how pleased I am to be at this press conference, in the presence of Government officials, civil society representatives and academicians, whose efforts have been vital to the I’M SET project.
Let me also thank the EEA Financial Mechanism and the Republic of Cyprus for your generous support to the I’M SET project, and through this your contribution to the advancement of human rights, gender equality and the empowerment of young people.
Every young person in the world has to make important decisions about their sexual and reproductive lives. Yet research shows that the majority of adolescents lack the knowledge required to make those decisions, jeopardizing their access to fundamental human rights, such as the right to education, health, participation, equality and freedom.
In order for young people to make informed decisions about sexuality and reproduction, comprehensive sexuality education is essential.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), to which Sex og Politikk and the Cyprus Family Planning Association belong, defines sexuality education as the tool that equips «young people with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values they need to determine and enjoy their sexuality – physically and emotionally, individually and in relationships.» This is a perspective that Sex og Politikk has advocated for since our establishment in 1969.
Five years ago, our dedication to comprehensive sexuality education culminated in the establishment of «Uke 6», a campaign consisting of free teaching materials about sexuality and wellbeing for pupils at primary and secondary school level. Our campaign is based on a concept developed by IPPF’s Danish member association Sex og Samfund.
The teaching material is age-appropriate and directly linked to relevant competence aims of the curriculum in five different subjects: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Norwegian, Christianity, Religion and Ethics as well as English.
Additionally, it can be used to enhance the pupils’ learning environment and prevent bullying and discrimination.
The motivations for our development of Uke 6 in Norway and our contribution to develop the I’M SET project in Cyprus are similar. Both countries are facing challenges such as inadequate training of teachers on the topic of sexuality, vast variation in the sexuality education from school to school, overemphasis on harm reduction and a lack of a norm-critical approach that ensures sufficient inclusion of gender and minority perspectives.
In Norway, Sex og Politikk responded to this situation by creating Uke 6, which is offered to all primary and secondary schools for use by teachers or health personnel. Uke 6 involves the distribution of teaching materials that are free of charge, easily accessible and ready to use. In this year’s campaign, 924 teachers and school health practitioners participated in the campaign, providing comprehensive sexuality education to over 56 000 pupils. The evaluation of the campaign, which ended in June, confirms that it led to a higher quality of the sexuality education taught and an increase in the number of hours dedicated to sexuality education. For next year’s campaign 610 teachers and health practitioners have already signed up, eight weeks into the campaign, which means we are set to reach far more students than last year.
The I’M SET project is the Cypriot response to the existing challenges linked to the realization of comprehensive sexuality education in secondary schools. Once launched I am sure you will reach similar successes judged from the competence and enthusiasm from those involved in the project.
The teaching materials in both projects are knowledge-based, human rights-oriented and anti-discriminatory. They view sexuality as a positive and necessary part for our wellbeing as human beings. It has a critical approach to norms linked to gender and sexuality. The exercises in the materials encourage the active participation of pupils, with the aim to increase their knowledge, life skills and capacity to make informed choices.
Sex og Politikk feels very proud to have been a part of the I’M SET project by sharing our experience and best practices. Simultaneously, we have gained valuable insight from our partners on the adaption of teaching materials to different contexts, especially regarding topics such as sexual minorities and gender identities and anti-discriminatory and norm-critical approaches. We hope that this cooperation can be the starting point for good future cooperation between our countries and organisations, and serve as an example and inspiration for other countries and organisations.
I am confident that the great success of the I’M SET project will continue. That more and more Cypriot youth receive education so fundamental for them to thrive in all areas of life.
Thank you for your attention.