SOUTH Africa’s youth lag behind their counterparts in other African countries in sex education, according to findings of the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Youth Index.

The survey, conducted by the world largest independent reproductive healthcare nongovernmental organisation (NGO), the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), and the Department of Social Development was launched in Johannesburg yesterday.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga recently came under fire for telling parents that educating children about family planning and reproductive healthcare was the responsibility of parents and not of her department.

Among the findings it was found that about 14% of youth in SA learnt about sex in school compared to 17% in Zimbabwe, 26% in Nigeria and 21% in Namibia.

School classes were second only to family (4.5%) as the least prevalent source of information on family planning and reproductive healthcare.

Heidi Marriott, senior adviser of learning and evaluation for the IPPF, said because of the fear of HIV and AIDS in society, and a lack of access to contraception for young people, there was an urgent need to get sex education and family planning into schools across the board. "Too many young people are learning about sex from friends and from the internet."