Key Points

  • Guatemala has broad legislation in support of providing comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) within the school system. Nevertheless, because of changes in the leadership of the Ministry of Education, there is no official CSE program. To date, only specific actions with limited territorial scope have been carried out.
  • Most teachers and students support the teaching of CSE, and 90% of students affirm that CSE has been useful in their personal lives.
  • CSE is mainstreamed in the national school curriculum. Nevertheless, it continues to have a biology focus, and is based more on prevention than on human rights. It focuses more on acquiring knowledge rather than on developing skills.
  • Only 7% of students have received instruction in all of the topics included in CSE. The least-taught topics are those related to contraceptive methods and STIs, including HIV.
  • Teachers convey mixed messages about CSE, including the negative message that sexual relations are dangerous and should be avoided before marriage.
  • The main challenges faced by teachers providing instruction in CSE are the lack of time, materials and resources, and lack of training (especially on contraceptive methods, HIV/STIs and violence). One-half of teachers lack training prior to teaching CSE.
  • A national CSE program should be designed, made mandatory at all levels of formal education, and given an increased budgeting for its implementation.
  • CSE should be designed with a competencies and skills approach that places emphasis on contraceptive methods, communication, gender and human rights; this approach should also promote diversification in content based on the local context.
  • A comprehensive pre-service and in-service CSE training program should be implemented and sustained over time, enabling teachers to have access to up-to-date teaching materials.

English-language full report is available in PDF using download link above.