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Sexual education is
crucial for reducing sexual risk behaviors (or at least not to enable their increase).
The goal of this study was to evaluate the implementation of sexual education
in schools. For the quantitative study, all schools (clustered in Schools
Organic Units—SOUs) in mainland Portugal were invited to participate. Study 1—A
total of 428 school principals, 424 coordinating teachers of health education,
belonging to 428 Organic Units (OU), which correspond to 53% of the Portuguese
public SOU, corresponding to 617,701 students and 60,595 teachers participated
in the quantitative study. Study 2—For the qualitative study, interviews were
conducted. Analysis of the results of both studies emphasized that Law n.° 60/2009 (6th August) is being fulfilled with regard to the
implementation of sexual education as well as the number of hours established
for its implementation. In general the SOUs organized an office that provides
information and support for students and manages its functioning. The
implementation of the Law is, overall, ranked as good/very good (83.7%).
However, during the qualitative study, school principals and teachers emphasize
that SOUs are making a huge effort to implement the Law, some of them
questioning their ability to continue this process due to the present
conditions. Principals and teachers reported the need to “revitalize” this
area, underlining the need to maintain the Law and one annual “Call” from which
the Ministry of Education and Science receives proposals for funding schools
for projects in the area of health promotion, and teacher training.