Reproductive health education must be interactive: Results of the study visit to Malaysia discussed by Education specialists

6 December 2017

Good practices in delivering reproductive health education to adolescents were presented at the round-table by the participants of study visit to Malaysia, organized by the UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund in November 2017.  The study visit was co-financed by the Government of Turkmenistan.

The national specialists from the Ministry of Education of Turkmenistan, City Department of Education of Turkmenistan, the National Institute of Education and Postgraduate Education of school teachers and a capital secondary school visited partner agencies and organizations in Malaysia to learn the experience of the country in effectively delivering the gender-sensitive age-appropriate comprehensive reproductive health education in and out of the schools settings. 

During her opening speech, Ms. Bayramgul Garabayeva, UNFPA Assistant Representative in Turkmenistan congratulated the Ministry of Education of Turkmenistan on growing political and financial ownership in improving the quality of the reproductive health education.  The Government of Turkmenistan has also recently adopted the Sustainable Development Goal target on substantially increasing the supply of qualified teachers.  Indeed, academically well-trained teachers play a key role in ensuring the quality of education, especially in the area of reproductive health.

During the round-table the representatives of the education system discussed the results of the meetings held during the study visits and the possibility of replicating the experience of the visited countries. 

The delegation of Turkmenistan held series of bilateral meetings with all partners involved in leading and promoting reproductive health education in Malaysia.  In their presentation, the meeting participants noted the meetings with the Ministry of Education of Malaysia, the Institute of Teacher Education, Federation of Family Planning Associates Malaysia (FRHAM), and the National Population and Family Development Board (NPFDB). 

During the meetings, the Malaysian colleagues shared successful and effective teaching methodologies, lesson plans, curricula and teaching materials for reproductive health education in school and out of school settings in Malaysia.  

“Reproductive health education becomes effective when the focus is made on life skills, rather than abstinence,” said Mr. Bashim Gaitnazarov, Director of the secondary school in the capital and one of the delegates to Malaysia.  “That is why it is crucial to use interactive methods of presenting these materials to the youth, and through these games to make them think and internalize these skills and be able to make responsible decisions throughout their life.”

According to the delegation, one of the many good practices of the Malaysian colleagues is the reproductive health education, which is delivered to the adolescents outside of the school.  Kafe@TEEN is a platform for youth education similar to the Peer Education Youth Centers working in the capital and Mary city of Turkmenistan.  Here young people receive essential life skills education and psychosocial counseling. 

Research shows that age appropriate reproductive health education does not lead to risky behavior.  In fact, it can lead to a more responsible behavior and relationships.

If started from an early age, comprehensive reproductive health education helps young people and adolescents understand their changing bodies and feelings, and develop safe, healthy and responsible relationships with others. 

In Turkmenistan, the issues of reproductive health, gender equality and reproductive rights are being taught as part of the mandatory subject Basics of Lifeskills in 7 to 11 grades of the secondary schools.  The quality of teaching of these issues is increasingly improving, as in the past years UNFPA and the Ministry of Education of Turkmenistan have jointly developed the national standards of reproductive health education, teacher’s competencies required to teach the subject, as well as the teacher’s manual to ensure that the methodologies used are interactive and effective.

The study visit participants have developed recommendations for further improving the quality of  delivering the reproductive health education in Turkmenistan.  Key recommendation was to create an interagency working group on developing modules, manuals for improving quality of delivering the reproductive health topics, as well as interactive materials for in and out of classroom settings.  All recommendations will be reflected in a detailed Action Plan on improving the quality of reproductive health education in Turkmenistan and raising the awareness of the society on importance of reproductive health issues for adolescents. 


UNFPA: Delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

For additional information, please contact:
Bayramgul Garabayeva,
UNFPA Assistant Representative

Ene Tuyliyeva, Advocacy Communication Associate

Tel: 488325