Condoms in School
|Above copied from Inquirer|
Condoms are recommended not just for protection against diseases. Condoms are of course effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy. So, perhaps, the planned condoms in schools program in the Philippines is also aimed at curbing teen pregnancies. How effective condoms are in reducing teen pregnancies, however, is still debatable. Recent research suggests that condoms in schools actually do the opposite:
The Incidental Fertility Effects of School Condom Distribution Programs
Kasey S. Buckles and Daniel M. Hungerman
NBER Working Paper No. 22322
JEL No. J13
While the fertility effects of improving teenagers’ access to contraception are theoretically ambiguous, most empirical work has shown that access decreases teen fertility. In this paper, we consider the fertility effects of access to condoms—a method of contraception not considered in prior work. We exploit variation across counties and across time in teenagers’ exposure to condom distribution programs in schools. We find that access to condoms in schools increases teen fertility by about 10 percent. These effects are driven by communities where condoms are provided without mandated counseling.
DepEd does clarify that the program it envisions will involve counseling. The question of whether they are targeting the right segment of the population, however, remains to be addressed. With a high incidence of school leavers, teen pregnancy may be strongly correlated with dropouts and poverty. Giving condoms plus counseling may not help in this case. For this, increasing the quality of education maybe the only way to address the problem.