Original Research - Special Collection: Sexual Health

Teaching comprehensive sexuality education using a praxis co-created with adolescents

Ronél Koch, Christa Beyers
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 15, No 1 | a3855 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v15i1.3855 | © 2023 Ronél Koch, Christa Beyers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 September 2022 | Published: 17 April 2023

About the author(s)

Ronél Koch, Foundations of Education, Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Christa Beyers, Foundations of Education, Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


Background: Despite its reported positive deliverables, comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in South African schools is unable to document an influence in reducing alarming statistics regarding adolescent sexual health. Prior research points to a gap that exists between what studies suggest and what is implemented in practice.

Aim: Drawing on Freire’s theory of praxis, the aim of this study was to involve the voice of adolescents in reforming CSE – specifically, how the programme could be developed with the objective to co-construct a praxis in order to support sexuality educators in a delivery of CSE that is more responsive to the needs of adolescents.

Setting: Ten participants were purposively selected from all five school quintiles in the Western Cape province of South Africa to take part in this study.

Methods: A qualitative descriptive design with aspects of a phenomenological approach was utilised. Rich data were collected by means of semistructured interviews and were analysed thematically with ATLAS.ti.

Results: The results illustrate the suggestions made by the participants towards the improvement of the CSE programme. They reported on approaches and strategies used to teach CSE that imply that it is often not delivered comprehensively – confirming the disjuncture between what the curriculum envisages and what is executed in practice.

Conclusion: The contribution might lead to change in disconcerting statistics and consequently an improvement in the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents.

Contribution: The participants from this study assisted in co-constructing a praxis for CSE teachers to inform their practice.


adolescent sexuality; comprehensive sexuality education; Life Orientation; praxis; qualitative; South Africa.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being


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