Comprehensive Sexuality Education
1. Context and background
Cabo Verde is an archipelago located off the west coast of the African continent, comprised of ten islands, nine of which are inhabited. In recent years, Cabo Verde has witnessed a strong population increase, with a large proportion of adults of reproductive age and adolescents. The country has made improvements in the development of health indicators, the health of women and children, reducing infant mortality, and it has a programme to prevent HIV mother-to-child transmission. However, unwanted and early pregnancies have increased over the past few years and continue to be a concern.
In Cabo Verde, sexuality education is integrated in a cross-curricular way, through Citizenship Education in elementary education and through Personal and Social Formation in secondary education. There is no separate formal curriculum for comprehensive sexuality education (CSE).
No formal definition was found in the reviewed documentation. The term 'sexual and reproductive health' (SRH) is discussed in the course curriculum for Personal and Social Formation.
3. Laws and policies
3.1. Relevant international/regional agreements to which Cabo Verde is a signatory
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
Accession date: 1980
Acknowledges the need to guarantee sexuality education free from discrimination and stereotypes, conveying gender equality values.
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
Accession date: 1992
Commits to the right to access appropriate health-related information.
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
Ratification date: 2011
Commits to the highest attainable standard of health for persons with disabilities.
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Accession date: 1993
Acknowledges that the right to sexual and reproductive health is an integral part of the right to health.
UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education
The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action
The country attended the Conference
Calls for sexuality education, counselling and support mechanisms for adolescents, and identifies essential topics.
3.2. Relevant national laws and policies mandating comprehensive sexuality education
The Basic Law of the Educational System (Legislative Decree No. 2/2010, later amended, in some of its articles, by Legislative Decree No. 13/2018), establishes the general framework of the educational system.
The Legislative Decree No. 2/2010 establishes a school health programme for the healthy physical and mental development of school-age children.
Legislative Decree No. 13/2018 amends Legislative Decree No. 2/2010, updating the Basis of the Cabo Verdean Education System. It defines the fundamental principles for the organization, direction, and development of basic education curricula, as well as the evaluation and certification of the knowledge and skills developed by students. This is applicable to the curricula taught in public, private, cooperative, and home and individual settings.
The Strategic Plan for Education (2017–2021) integrates gender equality cross-cuttingly. The Plan commits to the implementation of strategies and institutional practices that respond to the specific needs of boys and girls, and gender equality is part of all programmes, and planning, budgeting and monitoring processes. The Ministry of Education is already working on revising the basic and secondary education curricula to integrate gender equality into all subjects.
The National Plan to Combat Sexual Violence against Children and Adolescents (2017-2019) includes education strategies for children and adolescents on sexual rights and gender. The Plan proposes measures such as the inclusion of sexuality education in pre-school, the development of a continuous training programme for teachers on the prevention, identification and management of sexual violence, and the establishment of a compulsory notification system for cases of sexual violence against children and adolescents in education and health establishments.
The Law 47/2017 guarantees pregnant students access to and continued enrolment in school.
The National Plan to Prevent and Fight Sexual Violence 2022-2024 includes concepts that support a focus on gender and an emphasis on equity to decrease gender disparities. One of its axes is the inclusion of sexuality education in kindergarten beginning at age four, to equip children to protect themselves.
The 2013 Statute of the Child and Adolescent of Cape Verde establishes, in article 43, that children and adolescents have the right to be informed and educated on SRH, according to their stage of development.
Certain topics of CSE are integrated into curricular subjects. In primary education, Citizenship Education is a cross-cutting theme of the curriculum, and certain themes are also included in the Integrated Science curricula. Personal and Social Formation is a stand-alone subject, mandatory in both lower and higher secondary education. Details on the content of Citizenship Education can be found in the Study Plan for Formal Basic Education for 1st to 8th Grades. Information on the content of Personal and Social Formation is provided in the course syllabi, which are uploaded on the Ministry of Education website.
The Legislative Decree No. 13/2018 establishes complementary school support and school health (Article 66) where it specifies: a school health programme must be developed to support the healthy physical and mental development of school-aged children, as well as the sanitary conditions of schools, the training of educators and students, and adherence to individual, family, and community health standards.
Mandatory or optional
Themes related to CSE are integrated into mandatory primary and secondary level curricula.
Model of delivery
CSE topics are integrated into certain subjects of the curricula and as stand-alone subjects. In primary education, Citizenship Education is transversal and trans-disciplinary and certain elements are also incorporated into the compulsory Integrated Science curricula. In lower and higher secondary education, Personal and Social Formation is a stand-alone subject. In addition to these compulsory areas, the basic education curriculum includes curricular enrichment activities, which are non-disciplinary and optional.
The Legislative Decree No. 8/2019 mandates the institutionalization of the Centre for Management of Socio-Educational Activities and Promotion of Citizenship, (Section II, Articles 55, 56, and 57). The Centre's mission is to provide support in the prevention and overcoming of socio-educational problems of children and young people of school age, and to ensure measures are in place to combat incidences of exclusion, dropout, and school failure, by providing spaces for Educational Inclusion, and Citizenship Space in schools.
Comprehensiveness of content
The Study Plan for Formal Basic Education for 1st to 8th Grades stipulates that citizenship education is approached from the perspective of developing social skills and the development and strengthening of moral, ethical and civic values.
The Study Plan for Formal Basic Education for 1st to 8th Grades incorporates the application of personal and collective safety standards in daily life (covering physical, environmental, sexual, reproductive, mental and circulatory aspects) through integrated sciences and scientific activities.
The Personal and Social Formation curricula cover a number of topics through three different phases of learning. The initial phase focuses on physical changes. The focus of the second phase of the programme is on horizontal interpersonal relationships (peer groups, acquaintances, and coworkers) and vertical interpersonal interactions (superiors and subordinates; parents, teachers and other significant figures). The third part of the curriculum focuses on the foundational principles of identity formation and value clarity.
Specific topics covered in the curricula including an introduction to puberty and adolescence, self-image, youth development tasks, interpersonal negotiation strategy, drug use and abuse, changes in adolescent sexual relations, sexual behaviour, consequences of unprotected sexual intercourse, early pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, contraception, HIV prevention, sexual myths and taboos, and career guidance.
The Ministry of Education is responsible for establishing teaching and learning materials criteria. The Personal and Social Formation curricula offer teachers lesson plans for guiding classes. These include a guide with objectives, contents and teaching methods for each grade and project phase.
In July 2017, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a Diploma establishing the measures for social and educational support to school girls during pregnancy, after child birth and while breastfeeding, aimed at their continued access to education in quality conditions, at all educational levels. Educational institutions are required to train their teachers on SRH and promote an environment free of discrimination.
No information was found on whether teachers are mandated to be trained in the provision/delivery of sexuality education as part of their initial and in-service training.
Access to school-based health services, including SRH: Secondary schools have Information and orientation clubs, where they work on SRH through peer educators, including a focus on gender equality, the prevention of drug use and HIV, and the development of interpersonal skills.
The National Reproductive Health Program was launched to provide SRH services to adolescents, young people and adults, in partnership with the education sector and youth centres.
The 2013 Statute of the Child and Adolescent of Cape Verde dictates that the state, with the active participation of society, guarantees access to SRH services and programmes for all children and adolescents. This is done free of charge and confidentially, thus safeguarding their right to privacy and respecting their freedom to consent.
According to Legislative Decree No. 8/2019, educational and vocational guidance relates to the support given to children and adolescents to make informed decisions, from the seventh year of schooling onwards. The support includes the development and provision of psychological and psycho-pedagogical assistance, within its scope of competence, for students' self-awareness, self-concept development, and well-being.
4.1 Responsible ministries
The Basic Law of the Educational System Legislative Decree No. 2/2010, later revised by Legislative Decree No. 13/2018, assigns to the Ministry of Education the obligation of developing a national curriculum. Legislative Decree No. 13/2018 establishes a decentralized government, thus devolving authority to regional authorities and educational institutions.
4.2. Level of responsibility/decentralization and autonomy
Legislative Decree No. 13/2018 assigns the responsibility for coordinating and monitoring the education policy and the operation of the respective system to the government agencies responsible for the education and higher education sectors. The 2019 Legislative Decree No. 8/2019 establishes the regime for the organization, administration, management and operation of public basic and secondary education establishments.
The Legislative Decree No. 8/2019 specifies the system by which schools must organize themselves, including the educational and curriculum roles of the board of directors. The decree contains also establishes two institutions that are relevant to CSE: the Centre for the Management of Socio-Educational Activities and the Promotion of Citizenship, and the School and Vocational Guidance Office and Professional.
4.3. Government budget allocation
No information was found.
5. Monitoring and reporting
No information was found.