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Perhaps by Pieces

Peruvian reality and a lesson

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On the last 10 years, Peru has become a major player in Latin America's economy [1]. Its economy has had been amazingly steady due to the exports of natural resources. This led to positive unemployment rates never seen before in the last 25 years [2]. However, this growth doesn't seem to be sustainable because of the many problems that the country is still facing, and that are not being properly addressed: poor education, inequality, lack of decentralization (most of the services are given in the capital, Lima), corruption, poor health services, etc.

Public education is very poor. Government expenses for this sector represent the 3.9% of the GDP (being the lowest in South America)[3] and the results are that Peruvian grades on international tests are the lowest in the region. Public health struggles a similar reality: it represents 5.5% of GDP[4].

Government expenditure on education, total (% of GDP)

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization ( UNESCO ) Institute for Statistics.

As expected from this number, sexual education in schools is poor or void. In the last years, there have been some efforts to change the national school curriculum to include guidelines related sexual education teaching. These changes led to ambiguity, and the opponents of these, stated that these ambiguities could encourage homosexuality among kids at primary and secondary school. As a result, these changes couldn't be implemented and the sexual education issues remain the same.

Things could have been done better. Peru is a conservative country and, perhaps, the updates on the curriculum could have incluided just what is related to reproduction and sexual health education, and leave the controversial parts for further discussion.

Young people in Peru (10-25 years old) represent the 27% of the population. 0.3% of the whole population has Aids, and half of them has been infected before the age of 20. More than half of pregnant women had not planned to be pregnant. More than 60% of pregnant women between 15 and 19 years old had not planned that.

However, not everything is gray. Some efforts have been made, particularly by NGOs, private and international organizations. These efforts mostly included sexual education programs in some schools and in rural areas. It is expected to that the rates of young pregnancy and ITS decrease in these areas. Nevertheless, it seems that a global program highly supported by government is needed in order to decrease the negative numbers that the country is still facing.


[1] https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pe.html
[2] https://tradingeconomics.com/peru/unemployment-rate
[3] https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SE.XPD.TOTL.GD.ZS?end=2015&locations=AR-BO-CL-UY-PY-BR-CO-VE-EC-PE-US&start=1995
[4] https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.XPD.TOTL.ZS?end=2014&locations=PE&start=2013
[5] http://peru.unfpa.org/es/temas/salud-sexual-y-reproductiva-5

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thank you for sharing this information about Peru. It's important to have a global perspective on the issue - which shows how the problem is broadly shared, even though it has it's cultural and national specificities.
You might want to check this case in Columbia (I'm assuming that there are some regional and cultural similarities. My apologies if I'm wrong): https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/youth-srh/research/honest-talk-about-sex
You might also find these two projects interesting:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12295566
https://changeforchildren.org/past-projects/peru-sexual-education/