Sexual Education in Schools in Portugal: Evaluation of a 3 Years Period


Sexual education is crucial for reducing sexual risk behaviors (or at least not to enable their increase). The goal of this study was to evaluate the implementation of sexual education in schools. For the quantitative study, all schools (clustered in Schools Organic Units—SOUs) in mainland Portugal were invited to participate. Study 1—A total of 428 school principals, 424 coordinating teachers of health education, belonging to 428 Organic Units (OU), which correspond to 53% of the Portuguese public SOU, corresponding to 617,701 students and 60,595 teachers participated in the quantitative study. Study 2—For the qualitative study, interviews were conducted. Analysis of the results of both studies emphasized that Law n.° 60/2009 (6th August) is being fulfilled with regard to the implementation of sexual education as well as the number of hours established for its implementation. In general the SOUs organized an office that provides information and support for students and manages its functioning. The implementation of the Law is, overall, ranked as good/very good (83.7%). However, during the qualitative study, school principals and teachers emphasize that SOUs are making a huge effort to implement the Law, some of them questioning their ability to continue this process due to the present conditions. Principals and teachers reported the need to “revitalize” this area, underlining the need to maintain the Law and one annual “Call” from which the Ministry of Education and Science receives proposals for funding schools for projects in the area of health promotion, and teacher training.

Share and Cite:

Matos, M. , Reis, M. , Ramiro, L. , Ribeiro, J. and Leal, I. (2014) Sexual Education in Schools in Portugal: Evaluation of a 3 Years Period. Creative Education, 5, 1353-1362. doi: 10.4236/ce.2014.515154.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Currie, C., Zanotti, C., Morgan, A., Currie, D., de Looze, M., Roberts, C., Samdal, O., Smith, O., & Barnekow, V. (Eds.) (2012). Social Determinants of Health and Well-Being among Young People. Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) Study: International Report from the 2009/2010 Survey. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe.
[2] GTES—Grupo de Trabalho de Educação Sexual (2005). Relatório Preliminar do Grupo de Trabalho de Educação Sexual.
[3] GTES—Grupo de Trabalho de Educação Sexual (2007). Educação para a saúde nas escolas: relatório final.
[4] M.E. & M.S. (2000). Educação Sexual em Meio Escolar. Linhas Orientadoras. Lisboa: Editorial do Ministério da Educação.
[5] Matos, M. G., & Gaspar, T. (2002). Country Report: Gender and Smoking in Young People in Portugal. In M. Lambert (Coord.), Gender Differences in Smoking in Young People (pp. 107-120). Brussels: MIHP.
[6] Matos, M. G., Gaspar, T., Vitória, P., & Clemente, M. (2003). Adolescentes e o tabaco—rapazes e raparigas. Lisboa: Faculdade de Motricidade Humana/CPT/ Ministério da Saúde.
[7] Matos, M. G., & Simões, C. (2010). Sexualidade, Segurança e Sida. In Matos (Coord.), Sexualidade, Afectos e Cultura— Gestão de problemas de saúde em meio escolar (pp. 257-262). Lisboa: Coisas de Ler.
[8] Matos, M. G., Sampaio, D., Baptista, I., & Equipa Aventura Social, UTL and CMDT/UNL (2013). Adolescent’s Health Education and Promotion in Portugal: A Case Study of Planning for Sustainable Practice. In O. Samdal, & L. Rowling (Eds.), The Implementation of Health Promoting Schools, Exploring the Theories of What, Why and How (pp. 123-126). New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.
[9] Matos, M. G., Simões, C. Tomé, G., Camacho, I., Ferreira, M., Ramiro, L., Reis, M., & Equipa Aventura Social (2011). A Saúde dos Adolescentes Portugueses—Relatório do Estudo HBSC 2010. ACS/FMH/UTL/CMDT-UNL.
[10] Navidi, W. (2010). Principles of Statistics for Engineers and Scientists (1st ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
[11] Pickton, D. W., & Wright, S. (1998). What’s SWOT in Strategic Analysis? Strategic Change, 7, 101-109.<101::AID-JSC332>3.0.CO;2-6
[12] Ramiro, L. (2013). A educação sexual na mudança de conhecimentos, atitudes e comportamentos sexuais dos adolescentes. Lisboa: Faculdade de Motricidade Humana da Universidade Técnica de Lisboa. (Unpublished)
[13] Reis, M. (2012). Promoção da saúde sexual em jovens universitários portugueses—conhecimentos e atitudes face à contraceção e à prevenção das ISTs. Lisboa: Faculdade de Motricidade Humana da Universidade Técnica de Lisboa. (Unpublished)
[14] van Wijngaarden, J. D., Scholten, G. R., & van Wijk, K. P. (2010). Strategic Analysis for Health Care Organizations: The Suitability of the SWOT-Analysis. International Journal of Health Planning and Management, 27, 34-49.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.