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Sex Education in Schools: Better Late Than Never

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Importance of Sex Education in Schools:

Sex education refers to the education being imparted to an individual about the reproduction system of humans involving a male and a female. It may also include sexual practices of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders (commonly referred to as LGBTs). This education is very important for teenagers as they are the ones who try to apply the concepts of human anatomy in their future. Complete and correct knowledge is essential to understand the intricacies of this practice and also the ill-effects associated with some malpractices. After all sex is no joke. It gives life to new human beings. Debates apart, it is considered as the most reveling experience for all living species.

When a child grows up, he experiences bodily changes that occur with the growing age. Our hormones play a major role in the development of human genitals. Being unacquainted about certain changes, may bog a teenager’s mind. A child then has a tendency to discuss these issues with friends, look for pertaining information from possible sources or in many cases he may remain quiet and ponder over the mystical happenings. Incorrect and inadequate knowledge from various mediums may develop wrong opinion and knowledge about sex. It is because of all these factors that we require sex education in schools.

Information and repercussions of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD), AIDS, Teenage Pregnancy, use of Contraceptives, Family Planning etc. are very important for children to know as they grow and accumulate the inevitable knowledge of sex.

Problems in our Society

We have been hesitant in promoting Sex Education in Schools. The reasons include, “consideration of discussion of sex as a taboo in homes and society”, “not wanting to impart such knowledge to children thinking it will pollute their minds and deviate them from studies”, “opinion that children will indulge in malpractices if told about the intricacies of such practice at an early age”, “the frequent and unresolved debates on whether there should be a co-education on this topic have delayed the onset of sex education in schools already”, “westernization in education is also not welcomed by certain sections and welfare organizations ” so on and so forth.

Solutions to the problems

Sex Education in schools has to be a well-planned step taken by the government and private partners involved. The curriculum has to be designed so that it is informative of important aspects of sexual activity which a child should know. We need specially trained teachers for this job. Imparting the education separately to Girls and Boys would be better and help keep a check on eroticism in young minds while educating them. It’s a serious issue and the environment of teaching has to be such that it serves its purpose without making a mockery of it.

The content related to sex and reproduction at present in schools is mostly covered in the Biology text books of class 10th, with full of biological jargons which teachers utter in lieu of the embarrassment in teaching such a topic publicly. This type of teaching does not serve the purpose it is intended for but only arouses the minds of young children who wonder why the teacher is so formal and less open in teaching, thereby forming the “first impression of sex“, as a taboo in their minds. Well trained teachers using simpler language and practical demonstrations involving dummy human genitals will open up the confusions and mysteries in the minds of young children. Instead of referring incorrect sources of information, they would learn about sex in a more mature manner.

Another issue which is important to be considered is the standard in which Sex Education should be first imparted. The average onset of puberty is at 10 for girls and age 12 for boys. Considering this, first such curriculum becomes important in class 6th or 7th. It can be designed such that it gives information gradually adhering to the biological changes in teenagers. Successive curriculums in classes 8th, 9th and 10th should increase the content and depth of the knowledge being imparted.

Concluding, sex education is an important curriculum for schools which has been neglected for long. It is required that the Health Ministry formulates it in all mediums in schools. It is always better to be late than never doing something which is as important as Sex Education!

The writer is a Goa based correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz and also a student at BITS, Pilani — Goa Campus

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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