Sex education in the Algarve

Teachers in the Algarve are currently preparing to begin Sex Education (SE) lessons in the region’s schools, although parliament is still debating whether the subject should be an extracurricular activity or if it should automatically be included in the day to day timetable. “We have professionals who specialise in SE and psychological officers who are always there to help teenagers. They could easily teach the classes. It is something that has always been practised, although SE has never officially been a subject,” said the director of the Regional Education Department in the Algarve (DREA), Libório Correia, adding: “We are ready to tackle and work with SE in our schools.”

Despite the government’s reservations, students appear keen to learn SE. 17-year-old Maria Matos, from the student’s association at the João de Deus secondary school, believes that the subject should be taught in schools. “It would be a way of getting the message across about sexually transmitted diseases. It would also be a great opportunity for teenagers to reveal how they feel about the subject to a professional. I think it would be easier to talk to a teacher than to go to a psychologist. We can only win; what do we have to lose?” she asked.