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Coping with STIs and relationship break-ups part of sex education pack
Irish Examiner 26/06/2007

by Juno McEnroe

Coping with relationship break-ups and visits to STI clinics will be issues covered in a new sex education pack for secondary schools and pupils.

The revived schools programme features a DVD which shows an actor as a student coping with sexually transmitted infection concerns at a clinic.

Department of Education Minister Mary Hanafin is introducing the pack in a bid to modernise sexual education programmes, which in some schools were found to be old fashioned and out of touch with pupils' needs.

Up to 5,000 copies of the 30-minute DVD with a 50-page resource pack will be distributed to schools.

Students will watch “experiences of a teenage couple as they start, continue and end a relationship with one another”, according to a recent tender for the new education packs.

Two schools will feature in the programme as well where real teenage pupils “discuss difficulties they have experienced in their romantic relationships . . . such as possessive relationships, or relationships where someone feels under pressure to be sexually active”.

The Crisis Pregnancy Agency and the Health Service Executive (HSE) are helping put together the new programme.

Aside from relationships, teachers will discuss crisis pregnancy, contraception and sexually transmitted infections with pupils with the pack.

One acted scene during the DVD will feature a young person attending an STI clinic.

Another will show a girl going to a crisis pregnancy counselling session.

The department is spending €125,000 on the project. The new sex education pack is expected to be finished and ready for classrooms by early 2008.

A Department of Education report in February this year found the “lack of comprehensive, contemporary teaching resources” had had a negative impact on the delivery of sex education in classrooms.

A steering group comprising department officials, the Crisis Pregnancy Agency and the HSE is leading the introduction of the new pack for use in post-primary schools and youth work areas.