Scientific foundations in three parts
Research and Practice of Sex Education and Family Planning
In the spring of 1998, the Department of Sex Education, Contraception and Family Planning held its second seminar on work in progress under the title “Scientific Foundations and Model Projects”, at which experts presented 18 research and model projects commissioned by the Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung (Federal Centre for Health Education) and other sponsors. In three special volumes of the series Research and Practice of Sex Education and Family Planning, the contributions presented to the seminar are documented under the headings “Children”, “Young People”, and “Family Planning”.
Part 1: Children
The current volume focuses on children and their knowledge, their feelings and their questions on the subject-complex comprising the body, sexuality, love and partnership. To date there have been few academic contributions dealing with the age and gender-specific needs, sexual knowledge, and the sex education of children between the ages of 4 and 14, at home and school. The result of all the investigations hitherto has been that an “on going” sex education, and consequently the extension of knowledge for children of all age-groups, is as important now as ever. It is agreed that this information should be put across in a holistic manner which takes account both of biological and of social and development-psychological aspects. Against this background, the greater emphasis being placed on the subject of sex education in developmental psychology, family and youth sociology, and the educational sciences is of particular importance. There continues to be a strong requirement for quality standards in the sex education complex. Age and development-specific sex education requires differentiated sex education services. For this reason, the BZgA provides support for practical research and model projects relating to quality assurance in the fields of sex education and family planning. Against this scientific background, the BZgA is developing media and working aids for different target groups.
Part 2: Young People
In the formal legal sense in Germany, the term “young person” means someone aged 14 to 19 inclusive. However, in view of the increasing time spent in education and training, and the uncertainty of subsequent employment prospects, the start of paid employment and thus the fully adult phase is being postponed further and further. The consequences can be seen everywhere in the insecurity surrounding the planning of lives, careers and families. Against this social background, the BZGA finds itself facing a new set of tasks. Empirically sound data on the continually changing attitudes, desires and questions of this particular target group form an important starting point for wellfounded sex-education work. If sex-education approaches are to bear fruit, topics must be down-to-earth and relevant to the target group. Suitable forms, methods and models in education and preventive work must be both developed and tested, and their effectiveness scientifically evaluated. The BZgA will therefore continue to support model and research projects which promote the collaboration of theory and practice in sex education.
Part 3: Family planning
The current volume comprises the six contributions on the topic of family planning and contraception, in which trends were presented along with the results of sociological research. The focus was on the complexity of present-day decision-making processes on the part of both women and men when it comes to planning their lives and their families. Family planning is now influenced, more than ever before, by the social context and processes of social change. Individualization tendencies are growing in importance along with increasing differentiation and pluralisation of life-styles. At the same time, the traditional family model is losing ground. Social claims to flexibility and openness are opening up the potential for more and more new lifestyle options on the one hand, while rendering decision-making processes more difficult on the other. These changes are particularly apparent in the life histories of women, and also in the understanding on the part of both sexes of their respective roles. In response to this changing social context, the BZgA set up an independent “Family Planning” unit in 1997. Its work is aimed at promoting a form of family planning which is understood as an integral component of general “life-planning” and not merely as a component of the reproductive phase. With the development of a “family-planning framework concept” a basis will be created for the targeted support of further research and model projects, and to use the insights and results to develop media and measures for sex-education work geared to actual requirements.
Media: Print - only obtainable as pdf-file
Publication Date: 1999