SEX EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS

  - February 13th, 2008 by Shalini Nambiar | Posted in General   4 Comments »
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Sex education needs to be an integral part of the curriculum as it is about developing young people’s skills so that they make informed choices about their behavior, and feel confident and competent about acting on these choices.

Sex education that works starts early, before young people reach puberty, and before they have developed established patterns of behavior. The precise age at which information should be provided depends on the physical, emotional and intellectual development of the young people as well as their level of understanding.

It is important not to delay providing information to young people but to begin when they are young. Providing basic information provides the foundation on which more complex knowledge is built up over time. This also means that sex education has to be sustained. For example, when they are very young, children can be informed about how people grow and change over time, and how babies become children and then adults, and this provides the basis on which they understand more detailed information about puberty provided in the pre-teenage years. They can also when they are young, be provided with information about viruses and germs that attack the body. This provides the basis for talking to them later about infections that can be caught through sexual contact.

I fail to understand the latest upheaval in certain Indian States about sex education because as an educationist we should all understand that it is our prime duty to educate the child in all spheres of life not just Maths and Science. Sex Education has to be so well integrated in the curriculum that teaching is imparted without the child knowing that he is learning a specific subject related to sex. We all are aware of the fact that integrated studies provide more information and understanding to the child than a subject being taught in isolation. I don’t think so one needs parents consent in this as it is an important part of the curriculum, which we all tend to shy away from.

I strongly feel that the person most apt to give such education is the teacher herself as she is constantly with them like a surrogate mother so if she brings up this sensitive topic, children will be open to it and accept it . They will also feel free to ask questions. Schools programmes, which involve parents, notifying them what is being taught and when, can support the initiation of dialogue at home. Parents and schools both need to engage with young people about the messages that they get from the media, and give them opportunities for discussion.

It is widely accepted that young people have a right to sex education, partly because it is a means by which they are helped to protect themselves against abuse, exploitation, unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS. It is also about developing young people’s ability to make decisions over their entire lifetime. Sex education that works, by which we mean that it is effective, is sex education that contributes to this overall aim. If sex education is going to be effective it needs to include opportunities for young people to develop skills, as it can be hard for them to act on the basis of only having information. The kinds of skills young people develop as part of sex education should be linked to more general life-skills. For example, being able to communicate, listen, negotiate, ask for and identify sources of help and advice, are useful life-skills and can be applied in terms of sexual relationships. Effective sex education develops young people’s skills in negotiation, decision-making, assertion and listening. Other important skills include being able to recognize pressures from other people and to resist them, deal with and challenge prejudice, seek help from adults – including parents, and professionals – through the family, community and health and welfare services.

Sometimes it can be difficult for adults to know when to raise issues, but the important thing is to maintain an open relationship with children which provides them with opportunities to ask questions when they have them. Parents can also be proactive and engage young people in discussions about sex, sexuality and relationships. Naturally, many parents and their children feel embarrassed about talking about some aspects of sex and sexuality. Viewing sex education as an on-going conversation about values, attitudes and issues as well as providing facts can be helpful. The best basis to proceed on is a sound relationship in which a young person feels able to ask a question or raise an issue if they feel they need to.

The more you hide the more the curiosity builds up. Today’s rapid world provides any information at the tip of the finger. This information can be right or misleading. There is a whole plethora of information available just a click away. So its the duty of the social institutions like the family, school to provide the right information. We should talk more openly about sex and other related issues. Provide the right information and create awareness cause we cannot be like ostriches, putting our heads into the ground every time we hear the word SEX.

I STONGLY FEEL THAT IT SHOULD BE CALLED HEALTH EDUCATION RATHER THAN SEX EDUCATION.

Shalini Nambiar
Director
Excelsior American School

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February 13 2008 06:28 pm | General

4 Responses to “SEX EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS”

  1. Mathew Leighton Says:

    I liked the concept of the article…..its true we need to educate our kids on basic things like sex ……we need to learn a lot from some of the tribes who follow this philosophy………..

  2. sobhana kumary Says:

    May be the upheavel against sex education in Indian schools is against the name. As you said,if it is put as health education and is taught by a science teacher, much of the taboo can be removed. I think up to 5th or 6th std boys and girls mingle with each other without much inhibitions. So may be from 6th or 7th such lessons can be added .

  3. kizi Says:

    kizi…

    This really answered my problem, thank you!…

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