Sex Education





Our Proposed Approach

Evidence suggests that effective sex education makes sexual behaviours safer, resulting in a reduction of unintended pregnancies, and of STIs and HIV transmission[11].

Sex education should be:
• a set, comprehensive, evidence-based, age-appropriate subject in all schools, unfiltered through cultural or dogmatic positions, promoting neither sexual activity nor abstinence. Its aim should be to equip young people to make informed decisions about reproduction, sexuality and relationships, taking into account emotional aspects (such as social and psychological pressures in adolescence), and encouraging open discussion of students’ concerns; and
• ideally delivered by specially-trained, but in-house, teachers who have an existing relationship with the students, but are unconstrained by the ethos of the school.

Sex Education

Humanists Malta, and others, have long been asking for more, and more realistic, attention to be paid to sex education, including in church schools [1].
Whilst there are increasingly effective sex education programmes in some schools, sex education in Malta can be patchy[2]:
• although they contribute to required learning outcomes, the guidelines on sexuality and relationships education, last issued in 2013[3], do not provide an obligatory syllabus, and are thus open to interpretation;
• according to various surveys[4], many young people remain underinformed about safe sex, sexual relationships, and sexual orientation. They are often exposed to Roman Catholic doctrine (which is supported by the Constitution[5]) to the exclusion of objective, practical and factual information on such as contraceptive methods, and of opportunities to discuss their concerns in depth;
• abstinence is often emphasised, despite being unrealistic for many young people;
• inappropriate materials are still used, including, we understand, the discredited 1984 video ‘The Silent Scream’ (albeit now rarely). Those students who have learned to develop critical thinking will be able to recognise and question biased material, but it remains damaging for those who have not;
• the offer of free distribution of a book for children, ‘My Body’s Fantastic Journey’, by Dr Natalie Psaila[6], discussing puberty, biology, consent, sexualities, contraception and more, has been ignored by the Education department;
• a 2020 study by the international Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC), published by the WHO Regional Office for Europe, found that Maltese teenagers had the lowest prevalence of condom use. 52% did not use the two most effective contraceptive methods – condom or pill. 43% of boys and 61% of girls aged 15 said they did not use the pill or a condom during their most recent instances of sexual intercourse[7].
Quite probably as a result, we have a high rate of teen births (albeit dropping in recent years), and one of the highest rates of HIV diagnoses and other STIs, compared to the EU.
Sex education remains controversial in Malta:
● anti-abortion groups have been allowed to contribute to sex education classes[8];
● objections have been raised to any sex education without express parental consent[9];
● however, other parents, and students, have campaigned for a more enlightened approach[10].

[1] under a Concordat with the Vatican, Church schools aren’t obliged to provide any sex education

[4] for example,, based on a small sample but with lengthy discussion of its implications
[5] The Constitution establishes Roman Catholicism as the state religion:
“The authorities of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church have the duty and the right to teach which principles are right and which are wrong. Religious teaching of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Faith shall be provided in all State schools as part of compulsory education.”


Agħti Donazzjoni jew Sir Membru