South Africa



South Africa has compulsory school attendance from grade 1-9 for all learners. Enrolment rates fall in secondary schooling to about 70%. There are concerns with the quality of education in many schools, at all levels. There are programs helping to assist in better education access for children living in poverty, including the Child Support Grant and National School Nutrition Programme.

Sex, sexuality and HIV education is incorporated into the curriculum, using the Integrated School Health Policy (ISHP) and Basic Education Integrated Strategy on HIV, STIs and TB 2012-2016. The ISHP package covers a range of health issues including abuse, puberty, substance abuse, sexual and reproductive health, STIs, contraception, teen pregnancy and termination, HIV/AIDS counselling and testing, HIV prevention, prevention of mother-to-child transmission and stigmas.


There has been some major positive changes in risk behaviours reported by young people since the 1990s but HIV remains a major burden, particularly among young women in South Africa. In 2008, HIV prevalence in women aged 20-24 was 21.1% compared to 5.15% of men. However, evidence of HIV transmission is declining, especially in pregnant women (mother-to-child transmission). A range of sexual and reproductive health services are available to young people, including contraception, condoms, STI treatments and terminations of pregnancy.

There are more and more services being provided now to ensure that learners are able to access the proper health services needed in their communities. For example, the Integrated School Health Policy (ISHP) is encouraging more integrated health facilities and services in schools to improve better access to health care.

Updates and Stories

Workshops held at The National Cultural Festival in Mozambique

20 October, 2014   |   Blog, Events, Our people, Technical Coordination Group

Every two years, the Ministry of Culture organizes the National Cultural Festival in the province of Inhambane in Mozambique. The festival hosts domestic and international artists, cultural agents, and practitioners for a weeklong celebration of dive...


Education plays key role in ending teenage pregnancy across Eastern and Southern Africa

6 November, 2014   |   Blog, Our people, Technical Coordination Group

Every girl has the right to complete a quality education – however, the realities are that many do not make it through to their graduation. Teenage pregnancy is a significant cause to increased school dropout, with persistently high rates across E...


Take a stand on World AIDS Day

1 December, 2014   |   Blog, Our people

Today marks World AIDS Day. Every year, December 1st is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. According to UNICEF there were 2.1 million adolescents (10–19 years) living with HIV in 2013, 8...

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Wonderful to have young reporters asking their questions to our high level panelists today at @UNESCO #UNESCO dialogue hosted by South Africa's Dept of Basic #Education on scaling up #comprehensivesexualityeducation #CSE #CSENOW #YouthSRHNow Children's Radio Foundation #SaveTheChildren

[Photos by Czerina Patel]

Unesco Regional Office for Southern Africa
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Group photo of some following today's UNESCO High Level Policy Dialogue on #comprehensivesexualityeducation hosted by the Department of Basic Education in South Africa ! #ESACommitment #YouthSRHNow #CSENow #sexualityeducation #knowledgeispower

[Photos by Czerina Patel]
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‪#UNESCO Regional Director of #EastAfrica Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta & #Sweden Education Minister Gustav #Fridolin on SAFMNews Channel 404 this morning talking about the urgent need for govts to commit to #comprehensivesexualityeducation #CSE #CSENow #YouthSRHNow‬

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