By Ma. Teresa Montemayor
MANILA — Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Thursday stressed the importance of proper education in addressing early pregnancy in the country.
“In DepEd (Department of Education), we’re trying to put in what we described as ‘liberating kind of education’. We are adjusting our curriculum to the new generation, especially the generation Z,” Briones said at the “Kapit-Kamay” Summit in Pasay City.
In compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive, the DepEd held the summit to discuss and understand the dimensions — education, health, development, child protection, media and technology, and social and community — of early pregnancy and forge a multi-stakeholder solution moving forward.
Briones said the Filipino youth must be empowered with knowledge and socio-emotional skills so they can make informed choices.
“We need to make programs, services, and support systems available. The DepEd is currently developing standards for efficient and effective instruction and delivery of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) concepts,” she added.
To better help learners understand the implications of adolescent pregnancy nationwide, Briones said CSE concepts would be integrated into the curriculum, adding that they would be “age-appropriate, culturally-sensitive, and evidence-based”.
In line with this, Briones noted the importance of having more guidance counselors in schools who could assist learners with their concerns and sexuality education.
“We are advocating for the recruitment of more guidance counselors but among the challenges of DepEd is to hire them because there’s not so many of them,” she said.
“We need to capacitate our teachers on teaching sexuality education. There is a need for teachers to be more trained to help curb increasing cases of early pregnancy,” she added.
Representatives from other government agencies, private sector, youth-led organizations, and development partners attended the summit which ended with the Manila Declaration on the Prevention of Early Pregnancy.
According to the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey by the Philippine Statistics Authority, there is an increasing prevalence of premarital sex over the years, from 18 percent in 1994 to 32 percent in 2013.
The survey said one out of three Filipino youth engages in premarital sex and which results in the increasing cases of adolescent pregnancy, especially in the urban areas. (PNA)