Comprehensive sex education will take place for all school years between reception and third year of secondary school, Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said on Wednesday.
His comments came after cabinet approved the proposal he submitted, as he explained that the move will now fully insitutionalise comprehensive sex education.
Prodromou stated that sex education was already offered at schools but that from September this will be standardised across school years.
He explained that the younger years will be instructed through workshops while from the first year of secondary onwards the students will take part in seminars.
The updated legislation means that each school year will have allocated time for sex education, with pre-primary students receiving 8-12 periods from a total of 24 workshops while primary school students will have 6-10 teaching periods from 24 workshops.
He said all these will be carried out following consultations with the health ministry.
The president back in December signed the legislation on sex education in schools which was passed by parliament, despite the attorney general claiming it is unconstitutional.
The bill soon became engulfed in wider controversy, with independent MP Andreas Themistocleous accused of hate speech after describing it as an abomination – adding “they’ll teach kids that there are 64 genders, about gender fluidity. So that Kostakis was born a boy and then became Mariyoulla”.
The president’s office stated at the time that the AG’s opinion is respected, but that Cyprus has obligations to international agreements to which it has signed.
Anastasiades cited the UN convention on the rights of children, and the Council of Europe convention to protect children against sexual abuse. Those agreements require the state to educate children on the matter of sexual exploitation, his office said.
The government has said that the law aims to help children understand signs of abuse and know where and when to seek help.
The president further reasoned that the legislation therefore satisfies those obligations without interfering with the education minister’s role of setting the curriculum or altering the timetable.