“It’s just not right!”

this controversial article comes from a young teenager. . . .

Should schools involve sex-ed and social hygiene in their syllabuses?

It is scarcely a jolt to hear about people reaching for their torches at the suggestion of sex education in not just high school, but younger years as well.  In India, it is virtually obscure! With regard to orthodox tradition, adolescents in many cultures have been exempt from information pertaining to sexual matters,  with controversy of these issues being considered taboo.

Sex Ed involves gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, as well as sexual orientation; which can be expressed as extremely significant parts of life. In India, where there is little or no sex-ed in schools, has the highest rate of females getting married at the age of 18 or below along with the highest rate of teen pregnancies in the world. This according to the UN in an article published by the wall street journal in early 2013. With statistics like this it is essential that there is sex education classes as well as social hygiene classes in our country. Sex education provides a basis for young adults to learn the seriousness of intercourse as well as how to practice safe sex, furthermore, these classes teach young adults who are experiencing their sexual urges for the first time in their life how to deal with these emotions in a mature fashion as well how to practice sex in a safe way. On a more distressing note; rates of child abuse are at a high world over.  It could be insisted that instruction in respect to sexual activities and concerns could aid these outrageous occurrences.

Sex as a whole is deemed unmentionable in many cultures; for example, in India; the prevalence of ‘rape culture’ is immense, and as many speculators have suggested; can be abetted with  sex education, in terms of social activity and protocol as well as a personal, physical, and emotional awareness. Additionally, the outbreak of AIDS has given an innovative sense of exigency to the same.

With the raging speed of life today, children from ages as young as 10 need to learn about the birds and the bees, but more crucially; how to protect themselves against abuse and disease; prevent unwanted pregnancies; cope with sexual feelings and desires, plus deal with the emotional and physical effects of being sexually active. The requirement of sex ed in primary schools is expressed in the need for a child to be aware of the changes or ways his or her personality and body will change, prior to puberty.

Abuse prevention and identification is highly imperative in the youth today. The cognisance of personal boundaries, physically in relationships or even with adults, for a child who is being sexually abused, is essential, as it would provide him/her with empowerment to recognise the abuse and to speak up; for a child who is feeling “pressured” to engage in activities that he/she may feel unprepared to do, it gives a sense of righteousness and sanctions communication between him/her and his/her partner.

Countless parents fume over the circumstance. It is expostulated that the inclusion of sexual education in public and private schools is “inappropriate” and “unnecessary”.  Parents argue that it would “destroy their children’s innocence”. Although, the incidence of child abuse or even self-imposed sexual activity in the absence of prior knowledge could result in adverse effects in the child’s sexuality, along with his social, emotional and physical health.

It is also debated that parents would like to teach their children on their own at a time that is believed to be fitting in accordance to their thinking. If carried-out well, can be extremely helpful, albeit, there is the risk of biased teachings or filtered information,when taught at home. For example, some parents may choose not to educate their children about contraceptives, as it may contradict their beliefs. It is articulated that the teaching of birth control and its utility would increase minor sexual activity. However, a U.S. review concludes; ‘’an overwhelming weight of evidence shows sex educationthat discusses  contraception does not increase sexual activity’’.

The issue of abstinence and homosexuality, as an important part of many religions and cultures, is another reason as to why sex ed should not be taught in schools. Nevertheless, studies demonstrate the truancy of the same would result in detrimental effects on social, emotional and sexual levels of one’s life. Numerous opinions propose that the inclusivity of LGBT and birth control in sex ed would help the youth grow towards a healthier, happier future. “I can personally say that not having homosexuality included in the curriculum left me with more questions than answers. Many schools, including mine, like to pretend that LGBT students, and teenage sexual activity just doesn’t exist.” asserts a 12th grade lesbian. This indicates theunavoidability of homosexuality, and the fact that sexuality and sexual activity is rampant in younger age-groups too, as generations are growing more rapidly; the issue cannot be denied.

The heart of the matter is parents’ mindsets, the explosion of differential opinions, thoughts, and beliefs that has lead to the voluminous controversy for the affair. An advised resolution dictates a well-developed relationship between students, teachers and parents; a mandatory basic sex education course and optional seminars for specialised concerns. Adolescents advocate that sex ed should be more positive with less emphasis on anatomy and scare tactics, moreover, it should focus on communication in sexual relationships as well as gender expression and personal identification.

by Anezka

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