In July 2022, Education Minister for Ireland, Norma Foley announced a major reformation of the current SPHE (Social, Personal, Health Education) curriciulm in Ireland. Foley discussed the need for a revamp of the current and outdated system, that has not been changed in over 20 years.
The course has been modernised to reflect the needs of teenagers today. It will include the likes of; pornography, the importance of consent and the harm of sharing images online. These topics were previously stigmatised in the Irish syllabus and will revolutionise the new RSE (Relationships and Sexuality Education) Curriculum.
What is the need for a revamp of the current curriculum?
As times continue to change, it is important that the young people of today have the appropriate knowledge to navigate their sexuality and relationships. The aim is to prioritise the needs of young people and offer them an appropriate curriculum that reflects modern day-to-day challenges. It is important to empower young people with the appropriate knowledge and skills that they need to make informed, healthy life choices. The NCCA (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment) has reviewed the current system and proposes a “modernisation” of the curriculum. Including the following topics:
- Healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationship
- Human sexuality and gender identity
- The importance of safer sexual activity including contraception
- The influence of digital media including pornography
- The sharing of digital images online
What impact will this have on young people?
Truly supporting young people with the sexuality education comes from teaching in ways that celebrate real human feelings and experiences. The educational curriculum will empower young people and their families to speak openly about sex and sexuality so that they are equipped with current and informed knowledge. In doing so, young people can gain information that they need to make the best decisions for themselves about sex and relationships in their own lives. Sexuality Education has proven to increase the knowledge of young people, thus improving their attitudes related to sexual and reproductive health and behaviours.