Measuring the effectiveness of teachings sex education in Nepalese secondary schools
: An outcome from a Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT)

  • Dev Raj Acharya

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This study aimed to identify the effectiveness of delivering sex education in secondary schools in Hetauda (Nepal) by exploring the sexual health knowledge and understanding of young people, and parents’ and teachers’ views on sex education, in order to place the findings in the wider social, cultural and educational context of modern Nepal. The research selected four secondary schools pupils of diverse socio-background characteristics in Hetauda municipality, central Nepal. This study was conducted by undertaking an intervention in control (2 schools) and experiment (2 schools) groups, and as such constituted the quantitative method. Semi-structured Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) with 14 key stakeholders (6 parents and 8 teachers) and 8 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with 78 pupils constituted the qualitative method. Quantitative and qualitative data were analysed separately by utilising statistical software (SPSS, 19) and thematic analysis, respectively. Outcomes were compared, combined and discussed. This study relies on a multiple theory platform (cognitive constructivism, social constructivism and social cognitive theory) to evaluate the effectiveness of sex education delivery in schools. The conventional teacher in the control school delivered the sex education programme in a didactic approach. The result had less impact on pupils’ sexual health knowledge and understanding. In contrast, the health facilitator-led experimental schools used a participatory approach which showed a reasonable knowledge increment around sexual health. However, the pupils were still confused and uncertain about how to obtain sexual health information from relatives of a similar age and their family members. Many parents lacked the knowledge, iv confidence and skills to offer meaningful support to their children. This study noted four main important influential sexual health attitudes and behaviours of the pupils: ambiguous social roles leading to confusion; increased sexual awareness and curiosity about sex; significant gaps in knowledge and behaviour; and limited parental input. This study suggested several possible approaches that could be developed to improve sex education in Nepal. Young people need more information on the risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancies. This could encourage them to gain more sexual health knowledge which in turn could lead to increased engagement in safer sexual health practices. In particular, more young girls should be provided with access to sexual health knowledge and services in order to achieve real improvements in pupils’ sexual health. Furthermore, attention needs to be given to rigorous research and appropriate sex education interventions in school. Integrating sex and relationship education, both in formal and informal education, could help to improve young people’s sexual and reproductive health status.
Date of Award23 Jun 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorMalcolm Thomas (Supervisor) & Rosemary Cann (Supervisor)

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