Bringing Comprehensive Sexuality Education To Schools

Posted by Garima Varshney
February 21, 2017

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

A taboo on the term SEX has been prevalent for a long time in the Indian society. When I was a kid I asked my parents “Where do babies come from? Is it the way they show in cartoon movies where a big bird brings the baby in its beak?” and my mother replied, “Yes that’s it a big bird brought you down from heaven”. As a child, I was quite pleased with that response but you understand the concept once you grow up. Even today sexual education is a stigma and forbidden to be discussed in public. It is something that only is talked about behind closed doors or in whispers. Also like a cherry on cake men can talk about sex but women cannot. Owing to the lack of awareness kids and adolescents are often misguided and become vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, pregnancy even sexually transmitted diseases like HIV. These days for every question that we are unable to get an answer to we turn to the new library ‘Google’. I recently saw this web series while surfing the internet about sexual education.

This web series covers almost all the ‘you need to know’ about sex but how much should we rely on a source so diverse such as the internet for something so crucial. It’s time we include sex education into the curriculum for public and private schools in India.

To provide an aid for AIDS awareness and prevention UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) with UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) commenced the project on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) with the objective that young people should receive adequate education to make well-informed choices in their relationships and sexual lives. It stated schools provide an important opportunity to impart youngsters with sexuality education before they become sexually active, as well as offering a fixed structure within which to do so.

CSE follows UNESCO ‘International Guidelines on Sexuality Education’  published in 2009 that disintegrated education as per four age groups: ages 5 to 8 (Level 1), ages 9 to 12 (Level 2), ages 12 to 15 (Level 3), ages 15 to 18+ (Level 4).
The learning objectives have been defined around six key concepts:

  1. Relationships include defining family, family structures, gender equality in terms of roles and responsibilities within families, differentiating love, friendship, infatuation and sexual attraction, abusive relationships, concepts of tolerance, acceptance, respect, bias, prejudice, stigma, intolerance, harassment, rejection and bullying.
  2. Values, attitudes and skillsinclude peer pressure and skills in resisting peer pressure, Decision-making, using communication skills to practice safe and consensual sex, Identify appropriate sources of help.
  3. Culture, society and lawinclude sexual and reproductive rights, gender roles and gender bias, gender rights, gender-based violence, sexual abuse, pornography.
  4. Human developmentinclude sexual and reproductive anatomy and physiology, reproduction, puberty, body rights
  5. Sexual behaviorincludes sex, sexuality and the sexual life cycle, LBGT education.
  6. Sexual and reproductive healthincludes pregnancy prevention, understanding, recognizing and reducing risk of STIs including HIV, HIV and AIDS stigma, treatment, care and support.

To prevent teenage and unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, reduce HIV infections we need to implement CSE in schools all across India. All children young people have a right to this education as part of their right to information, education and health care under the Constitution of India. Getting education from teachers at school would help remove the taboo surrounding sex a lot making conversations and discussions better.

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