Need for Sex Education in Schools, opinion 17 July 2023 by Syed Mustafa Ahmad

       Need for  sex Education in Schools

Syed Mustafa Ahmad 

One of the much debated topics across the world is the importance of sex  education in schools. Sex education refers to a broad programme designed to impart knowledge/ training regarding values, attitudes and practices affecting family relationship. Its main objective is the transfiguration of a male child into manhood and a female child into womanhood. Sex is still considered a taboo in India. Parents feel embarrassed to talk openly with their children in this regard. Due to ignorance, children fall victim to many diseases like  AIDS and unwanted pregnancies, etc. So, sex education is necessary to be introduced in the school for the benefit of the youth of our country.

      Sex education comprises sexual development, affection, body image and gender roles. In other words, it is about learning how we grow, reproduce and change over the years. It also includes a positive view of sex. If the youngsters learn about sex objectively, they would be more careful before indulging in sex secretly. Sex is a natural part of life and when questions arise, they can be discussed in a matured way.

      The sole aim of such an education is to teach children to establish and accept the role and responsibility of their own gender by acquiring knowledge of sex. Understanding the differences and similarities between two genders; in terms of body and mind will set up a foundation for the future development in the their acquaintance with friends and lovers and their interpersonal relationship. It will also help to develop emotionally stable children and adolescents who feel sufficiently secure and adequate to make decisions regarding their conduct without being carried away by their emotions. 

       If we were to go the data published by WHO, sex education should be imparted to children who are 12 years and above. It has also been seen that it is the age group of 12 to 19 years that counts for some 34% of the HIV infected person in the world. Experts claim that “ Youth in India needs sex education more than the youth in any other country since  child marriage ensures that one not only have sex at a young age, but girls also have teenage pregnancy”. In a world full of exploitation, children are the most vulnerable section of the society. They should be taught between the good touch and the bad touch in order to protect themselves from various forms of child abuse.

      If a regular teacher tries to talk about this topic with students, it can get awkward and uncomfortable, but it can never be vulgar. These sessions are always held by people who are trained to do it. Counsellors who can talk about these subjects without blinking an eyelid, are the ones who help in making the students confident too. Parents in India are known to hide their love towards each other, in front of their children. The children grow up to believe that love is a taboo and it is improper to display one’s affection in public. Parents must understand the psyche of their children. They must share with their children the love they share and behave like normal friends.

      Sex education is a part of the syllabus from class 7 onwards anyway, when the students learn about the reproductive system in their biology classes. There are so many other issues that kids of this age group face and need to be sensitized about. It once happened  with me that in the  coaching centre, when the diagram of the female reproductive system came in front of the eyes of the male students, they blushed. They couldn’t understand what they were  being taught. This situation should change. It should be a smooth flow of things. Moreover, topics like dealing with rejections, getting too serious in relationships, friendships, etc., should be taught at the earliest.

      Such guidance is much needed in the present times of information overload. In fact, parents feel that it is the schools that have to be proactive and arrange for classes and sessions like these, so that the day the child is curious, he or she gets answers from trained professionals and not from some anonymous website. The biggest advantage of sex education in India is that it will help the country fight against the tremendous spread of AIDS. Also, sexual exploitation is spreading at a high rate wherein the small kids are the highest prone to such incidents.

      Last but not the least, awareness of sex education is the most significant factor necessary to lead a secure life. Usual educational practices are very simple to learn but we cannot consider sex education on the Same line. It comprises physiological, psychological and social issues, especially when we think of including it as a part of academic syllabus. As these complications occur, a question may arise in the minds of people about the need for sex education providing to the children. While children reach teenage level, lack of sex education may lead the way to their unusual behavior. If not corrected at the exact time, it may generate problems of immature misbehavior in these children’s lives.

      Now, it is high time for introducing sex education in school. This will create a liberal thinking among the youth and give them a safer, healthier life style. Many psychologists argued that sex education has the potential to liberate the young generation from socially organized sexual oppression. It helps them to overcome feelings of guilt and shame and they start to see the world in a matured way. Thus, we can say that the proper sex education can ensure a safer, healthier life style for the youth. The governments both at the centre level and at the state level should create an atmosphere  of liberalism,  where there is no shallow mind-set of approaching sex as something dirty and avoidable. All have to contribute in this regard. Many children have become the scapegoats. We won’t like more to fall into this trap. Religious institutions should also show interest in this matter. Trained scholars should be brought in to teach the adolescents.  Moreover, adolescents should be given a chance to talk to each other. It will prove beneficial  in the long run. My experience is that there is a wide chasm between the male adolescents and the female adolescents. This gap has to be bridged. In short, our schools have to act like the whole society. 

References:1) Arihant Books on Sex Education and Gender Equality