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Serious reservations have been expressed in Maharashtra about the sexuality component of programs intended to build awareness of safe and healthy behaviors for school-going youth. This policy brief answers: Is there a need for sexuality education in school and out-of-school in Maharashtra? Are the concerns expressed supported by evidence? Evidence was obtained from the Youth in India: Situation and Needs study conducted in Maharashtra, which explored young people’s awareness of sexual and reproductive matters, sexual experiences of youth, parent–child communication on sexual and reproductive matters, and experience and acceptability of sexuality education programs. Parents were asked whether they had discussed sexual and reproductive matters with their children and the obstacles faced in doing so. Findings suggest that many of the arguments made against the provision of sexuality education in school and nonschool settings are not backed by evidence. Youth do have considerable opportunities for social mixing and developing romantic relationships; many are sexually active before marriage, and relations tend to be uninformed and unsafe. These findings establish a strong argument in favor of provision of sexuality education for those in and out of school.






Youth in India: Situation and Needs Study