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Adolescent Health Education Program For School Students

Adolescent Health Education Program (AHEP)


This study was conducted in Siva Bakyam Matriculation school & Vidhya Vijay School - Nammakal District, to impact the Adolescent health education programme (AHEP) for school students. This AHEP curriculum includes physical and mental changes during adolescence , physiology , pregnancy and childbearing, guidance about age at marriage, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), family planning, male and female roles in reproduction, and violence against women and girls. The results of the AHEP provides adolescents with basic information on sexuality and reproductive health —a major achievement.


Sex education is described as "sexuality education," which means that it encompasses education about all aspects of sexuality, including information about family planning, reproduction (fertilization, conception and development of the embryo and fetus, through to childbirth), plus information about all aspects of one's sexuality which contains body image, sexual orientation, sexual pleasure, values, decision making, communication, dating, relationships, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and how to avoid them, and methods of birth control . Overall discussion and knowledge of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) remains at a low level, however, inadequate education exacerbates an environment of misperceptions (Nahar et al., 1999a). Friends, older cousins, brothers and sisters are adolescents main sources of information, and they themselves are often ignorant about reproductive health matters. As a result, adolescents lack adequate knowledge.

I conduct an Adolescent Health Education Programme (AHEP ) for school students. (Siva bakyam matriculation school & Vidhya Vijay School - Nammakal District ). The AHEP curriculum includes physical and mental changes during adolescence , physiology , pregnancy and childbearing, guidance about age at marriage, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), family planning, male and female roles in reproduction and violence against women and girls. This article explores the perceptions of adolescents as they faced psychological and social changes, the programme results of AHEP.


To evaluate the programme, I have gathered qualitative data from two Schools. Respondents included young unmarried students aged 12 -15, parents, guardians and teachers. I was conducted semi structured, open-ended interviews with female students . As they girls were young since it was felt that girls would be more likely to open up to someone closer to their age than they would to older persons. They freely shared their views on sensitive topics.

Key findings

Adolescent girls felt that menstruation was the most significant topic covered in the AHEP
It is considered a shameful subject that girls rarely discuss, even with their mothers. A recent study found that the majority of girls did not know about menstruation before it began (Nahar et al., 1999b). Interviews confirmed that the onset of menstruation could be traumatic for girls. ”

Family planning was another popular topic with girls . Family planning is a sensitive subject that is rarely discussed between older women and unmarried girls in the traditional rural culture (Mita & Simmons, 1995). Girls said that they particularly wanted information related to sex, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs)/ AIDS and family planning.

I had suggested that those who attended AHEP became an important source of basic health knowledge for peers and family members. Girls shared their new knowledge with other girls in the village, after school and in the community library.

Some girls also shared newly acquired knowledge on hygiene during menstruation with their mothers. One mother remarked, “I am learning from her now. Other mothers knew about their daughters’ new knowledge without discussing it openly. One Girls tended to share family planning information with sisters-in-law and close friends. They said that they had discussed STIs among themselves, but had not generally talked about the issue with adults.

The AHEP seems to have generated a new consciousness about reproductive health matters and broken the shame and silence surrounding girls’. Nevertheless, the evaluation found that many adolescents who participated in AHEP still lacked knowledge of STIs, including HIV/AIDS.

One important topic addressed during AHEP is early marriage. Although some adolescents said that they wanted to choose their own marriage partners, many admitted that parents were the main decision makers. In Nammakal district, many girls are married at age 11-13 or younger. In one school, six out of 14 girls in the ARHE programme were already married, with two expecting their first child.

According to the mothers, the main reason for early marriage is fear of insecurity of the young girls. Thus, families continue to practise early marriage, despite awareness of its detrimental effects on the health of girls and their babies.

Many girls who participated in AHEP used their new knowledge to argue against early marriage. One girl implored her mother. Some attitudes may be changing as parents realize the advantages of more schooling and the dangers of early pregnancy, but some mothers confided that they faced derogatory comments from community elders.

In this context AHEP providean opportunity for girls to share feelings about ‘love ’ and ‘romance’ that would have been considered unthinkable for previous generations. Adolescent girls spoke to researchers about their sexual desires, displaying unusual openness in a society that views women as good and pure If they Are sexually passive and considers overt expressions of sexuality as shameful.

AHEP increasing exposure to outside influences, many mothers worried that they were unable to control their adolescent girls, and they felt that life skills and health education were important for their children. However, some mothers were unware of the details of the curriculum.


In a strongly conservative environment, the AHEP provides adolescents with basic information on sexuality and reproductive health —a major achievement. Community acceptance of the AHEP classes may reflect the growing urbanization of rural areas, the influence of electronicmedia and increasing exposure to nongovernmental organizations. In addition, community involvement in the schools, power relations, uneven awareness of course content and the fact that AHEP teachers come from the community also helped to build the acceptance of AHEP by rural communities.

Overall, this research highlights the importance and feasibility of AHEP in rural areas. The programme not only provides information to participating girls, but also indirectly to other adolescents and adults in the villages. ARHE has broken the silence on sensitive topics.

(a) MitaR, SimmonsR (1995) Diffusion of the culture of Contraception : programme effects on young women in rural Bangladesh. Studies in Family Planning, 26 (1):1-13.

(b)Nahar Q, Amin S, Sultan R, Nazrul H ,Islam M, Kane TT et al. (1999a) Strategies to Meet the Health Needs of Adolescents: A Review. Operations Research Project, Health and Population Extension Division, Special Publications No.91. Dhaka, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research Bangladesh.

(c)Nahar Q , Huq NL , Reza , M , Ahmed , F ( 1 9 9 9 b ) Perceptions of Adolescents on Physical Cchanges During Puberty, ICDDR, B Working Paper. Dhaka, I nternational Centre for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research, Bangladesh and Concerned Women for Family Development.

Published: 2009-02-16

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