Stop Ignoring Sex Education in Schools
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19 April 2009
It’s ironical that a parliamentary panel, headed by former BJP president M Venkaiah Naidu, feels that children should be told that sex before marriage is against social ethos, but is against including sex education in the school curriculum.
The panel feels that exposing children to sex–related subjects will be counter productive. Little does the panel realise that children are subjected to sexual abuse more often than desired and they are not equipped to handle such situations.
Again, the onslaught of television and films has tainted their vocabulary. So much so, children often use abusive words with sexual overtones without realising their meaning.
On one hand they are being exposed to sex and on the other hand, they are being denied an understanding of the subject. They are exposed to advertisements on how using condoms prevents HIV/ AIDS and controls the booming population, but when they ask questions they are told to shut up as sex is a forbidden subject.
The lawmakers’ body has lost a wonderful opportunity to suggest sex education in schools. A child can be made aware of the various parts of the body and their importance. The term sex has various definitions. It does not necessarily have to mean ‘making love’.
The panel, however, agrees that students should be made aware that child marriage is illegal and is injurious to the health of the girl child. It also feels that children should be told that ‘consensual sex’ below the age of 16 amounts to rape.
The panel wants a age–specific curriculum for health and moral education, personality development and character building. It wants chapters on ‘physical and mental development in adolescents’ and ‘HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases’ removed from the present curriculum and included in biology books at the 10+2 level.
To make matter worse, the Supreme Court has held that sex education in schools can’t be brought under the ambit of constitutional rights by making it a part of right to education.