Recently, the whole saga of the government proposing to introduce sex education in schools, and the opposition protesting, and the idea put on hold, happened again in Maharashtra, after last year. All in the name of preserving our culture. Never mind that children are exposed to the ideas of sex, love and obscenity daily in movies, the news, and by false beliefs among classmates.
A committee has been set up, which will no doubt submit it's report in an year, and it will be implemented when the current students in the 9th and 11th classes become grandparents. It's all done in the name of preserving Indian culture, against 'western' values. It is impossible not to laugh at the people who make these decisions. Here are some tidbits, with some sarcasm of my own:
(Last year) the government banned sex education in schools after parents, teachers and political parties protested saying that the content was sexually graphic.
Oh my, they're teaching sex with pictures! In 9th and 11th classes, where the students are oh so innocent! This will corrupt them, no doubt.
Ramdas Kadam, Shiv Sena Leader: ''This is wrong. It goes against all the tradition of Hindus in Maharashtra.''
Wow. I guess Hindus in Maharashtra don't have sex either, because it's against their culture.
Nawab Mallik, MLA, NCP: ''Students are constantly complaining about sexual exploitation or harassment by teachers. If these sex gurus are appointed, then more girls will be exploited.''
"Sex gurus"? Excuse me? I thought sex education would make the students more knowledgeable about sex, and hence, more able to know when exploitation is happening, and thus safer.
Vinod Tawde, MLC, BJP: ''Instead of calling it sex education, it would be better if we referred to it as Adolescent.''
Hahahahaha... wait... *inhale*... hahahahaha!
Bashir Patil, MLA, NCP: ''We are proud of the fact that our women can walk alone on the roads. If sex education is implemented, it will increase the evils in the society and like colleges, schools will also fall prey to such evils.''
The same old argument, sex --> evils.
Why we need sex education
Frankly speaking, though, our kids need sex education. And 9th graders (well, even 6th graders) aren't wholly innocent about sex, and talk about "balls" (ie, breasts), "rods", and a whole barrage of such terminology; and most of the boys have easy access to porn. It's rather easy for kids to hide their "forbidden" activities from their parents.
There are many reasons why a child (well, a teenager) needs sex education. Two of the most important are awareness of STDs, and the recognition of and safety from abuse.
There are more reasons, one of which is that sex is elevated to a higher status than necessary by the taboo status it has, and thus teens think of it as more important than it is. There's reluctance to talk about sex in our society. Where can the kid talk about those sexual things which are bothering him? His peers are about as knowledgeable as him. Sex is a part of human life, and hence it must be a part of a complete curriculum. Sex education is education in the strictest sense: it is essential knowledge about life.
Finally, for those who think the students will become corrupt after sex ed, it's rather that they'll become well disciplined. Sex education makes us more aware of the need to respect our fellow students, be they boys or girls. It teaches us respect for women, and respect for other sexual orientations.
I may be faulted for believing that education can do anything. Maybe it can't. But the school is one place where everyone can receive the education most parents are afraid to give at home.
Here is another list of why students need sex ed.
Here is a general page about sex ed. You can of course google to find out more.
Comments and suggestions appreciated. :)