Comprehensive Sexuality Education

1. Context and background

2. Terminology

3. Laws and policies

4. Governance

5. Monitoring and reporting


1. Context and background

Despite some improvement, Tanzania has one of the highest adolescent pregnancy rates in the world. The country also has one of the highest levels of HIV infection globally.

Life skills-based HIV education programmes in Tanzania have been implemented since 1987, when Family Life Education was introduced in schools and teacher colleges as an extra-curricular programme. In 1999, the programme gained momentum after HIV & AIDS were declared an epidemic. This declaration was the beginning of a series of HIV prevention strategies, starting with the creation of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS in 2001.


2. Terminology

The country uses the term 'Life Skills-based education' 'HIV', 'sexual and reproductive health' and 'gender-based violence' in most of its sexuality education programmes.


3. Laws and policies

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



Ratification date

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

Ratification date: 1985

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:1991

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

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

Ratification date:2009

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

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Ratification date:1976

Acknowledges that the right to sexual and reproductive health is an integral part of the right to health.

UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education

Ratification date:1979

Reaffirms that education is a human right. It highlights states' obligations to ensure free and compulsory education, bans any form of discrimination and promotes equality of educational opportunity.

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


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.



Ministerial Commitment on comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern African (ESA)


Commits to ensuring comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services for young people.


3.2. Relevant national laws and policies mandating comprehensive sexuality education

Tanzania has a number of policies in place to guide the delivery of sexuality education. The Guidelines for Implementing HIV and Life Skills Education in Schools were published in 2002 (4th version of 2004). The document emphasized the provision of HIV & AIDS, STIs, life skills, counselling services and knowledge. The knowledge component captures basic knowledge on HIV & AIDS and STIs, and a ‘responsible behaviour approach’, which emphasizes abstinence and the delay of sexual debut. Education on condom use is also encouraged as an alternative way of avoiding STIs. However, the distribution of condoms in schools and teacher colleges is not permitted.

The provision of global citizenship and life skills education, including on environmental and conservation issues and on gender, sexuality and HIV prevention was one of the strategies of the Education Sector Development Plan (ESDP 2016/17 – 2020/21 under the Quality of Basic and Secondary Education. 

Tanzania launched the Third National Multi-Sectoral Strategic Framework for HIV&AIDS (NMSF III, 2012/13 – 2017/18), which was designed to guide the country’s multi-sectoral response to the epidemic. 

Tanzania has recently launched the National Accelerated Action and Investment Agenda for Adolescent Health and Wellbeing (NAIA-AHW) 2021/22 – 2024/25, which includes comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) as one of the priority interventions to address early pregnancies and HIV.


3.3. Curricula

Mandatory or optional

No information was found.

Model of delivery

Sexuality education in Tanzania is integrated into various subjects. In primary school, topics related to reproductive health such as HIV and gender are included in the following subjects: science and technology, civic and moral education, and social studies. The aim is to identify the effects of unsafe sex and the risks of unsafe sex, to avoid diseases and early pregnancies. In secondary school, biology and civic education include sexuality education content. The science and biology syllabi cover topics related to facts and information about sexuality education, including HIV & AIDS, SRH, and human development. 

Sexuality education is also offered to learners via extra-curricular clubs or programmes to reinforce what is being taught in school.

Comprehensiveness of content

Within the curricula, the objectives of the sexuality education programmes are focused on cognitive dimensions, with a less of a focus on the affective and skills aspects. This includes reducing unintended pregnancy, HIV, STIs and gender-based violence. However, there is little focus on effective behaviour with respect to delaying first sex and promoting the effective use of condoms and other contraceptives. Abstinence is the primary focus of school-based sexuality education provided by the government.

Learning resources

While there are no specific learners’ textbooks sexuality education, sexuality education content is included in textbooks of the specific carrier subjects. 


3.4. Teachers

In this study, the country indicated that sexuality education is a compulsory module in preparing teachers for the teaching profession. Pre-service teacher training courses include topics such as: relationships, culture, society and human rights; human development and puberty; sexuality and sexual behaviour; SRH; gender issues; basic facts on HIV&AIDS; coping and life skills; counselling; and communication skills. In preparation for the Teacher Education Certificate, carrier subjects include civic education, science, personality development, sports and educational psychology, and guidance and counselling. At the diploma level, carrier subjects include development studies, biology, educational psychology, guidance and counselling. Sexuality education has been integrated into the Teacher Educator Program as a stand-alone course module in the curriculum for professional in-service tutors in six zonal teacher training colleges and one university. 

There is also a guideline that governs in-service training and retraining of teachers on HIV&AIDS, SRH and life-skills education, which includes information on HIV & AIDS, relationships, the basic principles of guidance and counselling, participatory teaching methods, an exploration and clarification of personal beliefs and values, class management skills in dealing with difficult and controversial issues, and stigmatization and discrimination. The Open University of Tanzania has developed in-service teacher training, with a focus on learner-centred methods and the appropriate use of teaching materials, and is planning an online course on sexuality education. The former Ministry of Education and Vocational Training also developed teaching materials, charts, and brochures that present CSE content simply and attractively (for extra-curricular programmes).

CSE is a compulsory module in teacher training and an examinable subject in pre-service teacher training.


3.5. Schools

In 2018, Tanzania launched the National School Health Program Strategic Plan (2018-2023). The implementation of the Plan is guided by Policy Guidelines on School Health Services in Tanzania (2018), which stipulates the type of services to be offered, and the coordination and monitoring of services provided by the Government and its non-governmental partners.


4. Governance

4.1 Responsible ministries

The Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, the Presidents’ Office, the Ministry for Regional Administrative and Local Government, and the Ministry of Health all play a role in the implementation of sexuality education in Tanzania. 

4.2. Level of responsibility/decentralization and autonomy

No information was found.

4.3. Government budget allocation

No information was found.


5. Monitoring and reporting

Some measures are in place to track data on various aspects of sexuality education. For example, the Annual School Census for Tanzania integrates a number of the key agreed global indicators for measuring responses in the education to HIV & AIDS. The National Basic Education Statistics in Tanzania provide data on the number of government and non-government schools providing CSE, including rules and guidelines for staff and students about HIV & AIDS, a programme on HIV & AIDS in the workplace, education on infection, the prevention of HIV, education on life skills in general, as well as school provision of education on reproductive health, and training to parents and teachers.

Last modified:

Wed, 01/03/2023 - 23:04