Comprehensive Sexuality Education

1. Context and background

2. Terminology

3. Laws and policies

4. Governance

5. Monitoring and reporting


1. Context and background

In Malaysia, young people make up one-third of the population. Reports indicate that the number of teenage pregnancies and STIs (including HIV) is increasing among Malaysia’s youth. Malaysia first started to implement a version of sexuality education into its curriculum under the Health Education Curriculum, previously known as the ‘Family Health Education Module’, in 1989 for secondary school and in 1994 for primary school. The Government introduced the National Sexuality Education Guidelines in 2006 and renamed the model ‘Reproductive Health and Social Education’ or Pendidikan Kesihatan Reproduktif dan Sosial (PEERS). Sexuality and reproductive health (SRH) are considered taboo and against the cultural and religious norms of Malaysian society.


2. Terminology

A definition of sexuality education or related terms was not found in Malaysia’s policies, laws, or strategies. The term ‘reproductive health and social education’, which addresses sexuality education-related topics, is used. However, it is not defined.


3. Laws and policies

3.1. Relevant international/regional agreements to which the country is a signatory



Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Ratification date: 1995

Acknowledges the need to guarantee sexuality education free from discrimination and stereotypes, conveying gender equality values.


Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Ratification date: 1995

Commits to the right to access appropriate health-related information.


Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

Ratification date: 2010

Commits to the highest attainable standard of health for persons with disabilities.


The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action

Attended the conference

Calls for sexuality education, counselling and support mechanisms for adolescents, and identifies essential topics.


UN General Assembly 2016 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS

Includes commitments and calls to scale up and/or attention to scientifically accurate age- and culturally appropriate comprehensive sexuality education.


Commission on the Status of Women 2016 Resolution on Women, the Girl Child and HIV and AIDS

Includes commitments to make universally accessible and available quality comprehensive sexual and reproductive health-care services, commodities, information and education.




The Asia and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Population and Development (2013) (Asia Pacific)

Commits to the design, funding and implementation of ‘comprehensive sexuality education and life skills’ programmes that ‘provide accurate information on human sexuality, gender equality, human rights, relationships, and sexual and reproductive health, while recognizing the role and responsibilities of parents.



3.2. Relevant national laws and policies mandating comprehensive sexuality education

Article 8(2) of the 1957 Malaysian Constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender. The 1996 Education Act does not mention sexuality education or any mandates related to gender.

In 1995, the Family Health Development Division of the Ministry of Health established the Adolescent Health Unit and the National Adolescent Health Policy was launched in 2001. The 2015 National Adolescent Health Plan of Action (updated from the previous 2007 version) sought to support the inclusion of adolescent rights and legal matters pertaining to adolescent health in the curriculum. No other details were provided. The 2013–2025 Education Blueprint makes no mention of sexuality education or related topics.

The Government introduced Pendidikan Kesihatan Reproduktif dan Sosial (PEERS) (Reproductive Health and Social Education) in 2006. This includes aspects of personal and reproductive health, substance abuse, mental and emotional management skills, family, relationships, disease prevention, and safety.

In 2009, The National Policy on Reproductive Health and Social Education or Pelan Tindakan Pendidikan Kesihatan Reprodutif dan Sosial (PEKERTI) was passed by the parliament. The Ministry of Education approved the implementation of PEKERTI programmes in schools in February 2012. The National Reproductive Health and Social Education Policy and Action Plan (PEKERTI) 2022-2025 applies to all people in Malaysia regardless of age or gender, and respects ethnic, religious and cultural diversity. PEKERTI’s objectives are to: increase individual, family and community awareness of the importance of reproductive and social health education; develop and improve Social and Reproductive Health Education programmes that are evidence-based and culturally appropriate and implemented by all relevant agencies; develop expertise in all aspects of Social and Reproductive Health Education by providing accurate and appropriate knowledge and skills in the community for the implementation of the programme; encourage, conduct and enhance research and development to improve all aspects of Social and Reproductive Health Education ; and ensuring that the implementation of all programmes, activities and interventions under this policy and action plan is continuously monitored and evaluated periodically, including the impact of the programme during the final period of the action plan.

While Malaysia’s National Strategy Plan on HIV and AIDS 2011-2015 and the National Strategic Plan for Ending AIDS 2016-2030 includes provisions for SRH education, schools are not mentioned.


3.3. Curricula

Mandatory or optional

Sexuality education is not mandated to be taught within the national curriculum.

Model of delivery

Reproductive Health and Social Education covers topics related to SRH and is covered throughout Year 1 to Form 5. It is not a compulsory subject in schools, but efforts have been made to integrate it within other subjects, such as science, biology, and religious and moral education. At the primary level, Reproductive Health and Social Education makes up 75% of the Health Education Curriculum, or just 13 hours of content per year.

The National Reproductive Health and Social Education Policy and Action Plan (PEKERTI) outlines five main core implementation strategies. One is to develop SRH education through community programmes and models that are comprehensive, age-appropriate, and considerate of local religious and cultural norms. PEKERTI also aims to develop a referral system for target groups receiving SRH education. SRH education is mostly carried out through programmes outside of the national public school system. For example, Pusat Rejama KafeTEEN, established by the National Population and Family Development Board, is a youth centre that conducts education and skills development programmes. Other programmes include PEKERTI@Institut and PEKERTI@Komuniti.

Comprehensiveness of content

The Ministry of Education provides curriculum guides for health education on its website. According to the Primary School Physical Education and Health Education curriculum, the objective of PEERS is to: help students form a positive view of reproductive and social health for themselves, their family, and society; provide information that students need to have about sexual and family health, as well as contributing to the preservation and integrity of the family institution; and for students to acquire the skills to make wise decisions about their own health and sexual behaviour. PEERS content includes personal and reproductive health such as physiological and psychological changes during puberty, and reproductive health care. It also includes mental and emotional management skills, healthy relationships, the importance of family and the institute of marriage, disease prevention, safety and security, and substance abuse. In later grades, learning objectives for the SRH aspect of PEERS focus on the biological aspects such as puberty, as well as the concept of ‘unsafe touch’.

The National Strategic Plan for Ending AIDS 2016-2030 mentions enhancing the delivery of curriculum and co-curriculum related to HIV education as well as reviving SRH education in schools. All schools are required to implement HIV education twice a year during the Weekly School Programme/ Social Ethics Programme (Etika Pergaulan).

Learning resources

Several learning resources for PEERS are provided by the Ministry of Education at the preschool level. This includes a teacher’s guide, a story book, a brochure, and a video. No learning resources were found for the K-12 level.


3.4. Teachers

The National Strategic Plan for Ending AIDS 2016-2030 mentions ongoing capacity building for teachers who cover HIV education materials in specific subjects, with a minimum of two state-level trainings per year. This will then lead to echo trainings in districts, leading to a 70% coverage of schools where trained teachers can lead their own local training sessions.

In 2021, the Federation of Reproductive Health Associations, Malaysia, a non-profit non-governmental organization, was given funding by the Ministry of Education to conduct a pilot programme on empowering PEERS in schools. Teachers were trained in delivering sexuality education elements in the teaching of related subjects.  

Teacher Education Institutions in Malaysia are responsible for the implementation of the Pre-Service and In-Service Teacher Education Programme, as stipulated in the Education Act 1996. Information on curriculum training for sexuality education was not found.


3.5. Schools

Though the Adolescent Health Unit, National Adolescent Health Policy, Guideline on Managing Adolescents Sexual and Reproductive Health Issues in Health Clinics, and the 2015 National Adolescent Health Plan of Action detail plans on sexual reproductive health among youth, information regarding schools was not found.


4. Governance

4.1 Responsible ministries

The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health are mainly responsible for sexuality health organization. The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development is responsible for upholding gender equality and non-discrimination against women in Malaysia.

No specific information was found regarding responsibilities or coordination mechanisms for sexuality education.

4.2. Level of responsibility/decentralization and autonomy

No information was found.

4.3. Government budget allocation

Government funding is provided in the National Strategic Plan for Ending AIDS 2016-2030.  No information on budget allocations for sexuality education was found.


5. Monitoring and reporting

One of the core implementation strategies in the National Reproductive and Social Health Education Policy and Action Plan (PEKERTI) for 2022-2025 is to ‘create a monitoring and evaluation mechanism and implement monitoring and evaluation of the Action Plan and other aspects under it’. However, no other details were found.

Last modified:

Fri, 17/03/2023 - 11:55