‘Schools Need To Impart Regular Sex Education’

World Health Organization (WHO) states that the age group between 12 to 19 years counts for 34 per cent of HIV infected individuals in the world.

Sex Education is not technically imparted in schools in India. Students are merely told to read up on the said topic and if necessary clarify doubts with the teacher, if any.

The issue of imparting sex education to students has always been a controversial topic and remains so even with the changing times. However, child psychologists point out that at a time when the country is experiencing various cases of sexual abuse of children and teen pregnancy cases, the need to impart regular sex education to students is severe.

According to a draft of the National Education Policy, it mentions the need for “sex education in schools for adolescents for safety measures.”

Moreover, a study by the Department of Women and Child Development, around 53 per cent of children have been a victim of some kind of sexual abuse. In the year 2016 itself, around 15,000 children were abused (60% boys and 40% girls).

World Health Organization (WHO) states that the age group between 12 to 19 years counts for 34 per cent of HIV infected individuals in the world.

A circular had been issued by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) way back in 2005 that called for an Adolescence Reproductive and Sexual Health Education (ARSH) project. However, it is yet to be implemented in totality. As suggested by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) earlier, a course on adolescent education programme was to be conducted in various states but due to the taboo attached to the topic of ‘sex’, states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Goa banned this project.

Sex Education is considered explicit by many and claimed that its content is contrary to Indian culture and morality. It has also been claimed that sex education in schools will increase risky behaviour amongst adolescents and young people.

A study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) titled ‘Effects of Sex Education on Young People’s Sexual Behavior’ has shown that sex education does not encourage young people to have sex at an earlier age or more frequently. On the contrary, the study shows that sex education delays the start of sexual activity, reduces sexual activity among young people and encourages those already sexually active to have safer sex.

Psychiatrist Dr. Gaurav Gupta said, “It’s absolutely necessary. The conflict is not about whether sex education is needed or not but about how it should be implemented. Not only that, there needs to be more awareness about issues like gender identity and how victims’ families still cope with accepting child abuse. A clear direction needs to be given by the government.”

The doctor further added, “Schools need to look beyond the academic point of view and whether the child is able to score in exams or not, efforts need to be made regarding these basic human rights issue.”

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