Sex Education: Not a Taboo but a Necessity
- IWB Post
- July 29, 2014
How are children born? This is a fairly simple question that a child may ask out of natural curiosity to his parents. If, instead of subtly explaining the science behind reproduction, his father or mother gives him a callous answer such as ‘babies are sent by god from the heaven’; the impossibility of it is bound to draw the attention of the kid. In such a situation he will discuss this matter with his friends and might eventually come to believe a distorted version of the truth. At a time when the cases of violence against women are at an all time high, the need for sex education in schools cannot be ignored any more.
What comes to your mind when you hear the term sex education? It is one of those terms which have long been, and is still to some extent, a taboo in our society. The premature assumption of instantly associating the word sex with intercourse is a grave mistake that has often led to bogus statements and uncalled moral policing from many people including those holding high public offices. Each such hindrance takes us two steps back from spreading awareness about the importance of sex education.
We spoke with the principals of two leading schools in Jaipur to know what their take is on sex education. During our interviews with these two renowned educationists, we tried to understand the need, challenges and relevance of sex education in our country. They also gave us a glimpse of the initiatives that they have taken in their respective schools.
The Palace School
Mrs. Urvashi Warman, Principal of the Palace School, says: “With the advent of the internet & social media, there has been an apparent explosion of information which is freely available to everyone. It is from these sources that children nowadays have full access to sexually explicit content from a very young age without the knowledge of their parents. I believe that the hush-hush attitude of the parents have resulted in the creation of unanswered queries in the minds of their wards which, if left unaddressed, may have far reaching effects.” Mrs. Warman considers that by undermining the significance of sex education, we are actually making our own children prone to abuse and molestation.
Statistics by various surveys show that toddlers are often unaware of the fact that they are being abused. It is the sex education which teaches them to differentiate between good touch and bad touch and tells that when should they report such incidents to their parents. We asked Mrs. Warman about her thoughts on customizing sex education according to the traditions and ideals of ‘Indian society’. To this she responded: “The world has multiple meanings to different individuals and doesn’t have any universal definition. We are trying to advocate a system where the special care is taken to train a teacher. Hence, unless the teacher is comfortable in this domain, we can’t expect the students to be.”
Mrs. Warman has arranged for an expert counselor from Mumbai who will be visiting the Palace School regularly to hold counseling sessions with not only students but also teachers. During these sessions they discuss the various biological, emotional and psychological aspects of sexuality. Mrs. Warman told Jaipur Women Blog that she thinks that India is currently going through a transition period, which can be termed as a ‘Cultural Crisis’. The only way to ensure a methodical and sane approach is through sensitizing this issue with collaboration between parents, teachers and students. The government also must play the crucial role of a flag bearer by introducing more awareness schemes and taking the initiative to the rural areas.
St. Xavier’s School
The principal of St. Xavier’s School, Father John.S.Ravi is of the opinion that sex education is the need of the hour and must find a place in the curriculum of every school. During the interview, Fr. John raised the extremely important issue of ‘peer group pressure’ among children nowadays that often results in grim consequences leaving a permanent mark in their young minds. That is why it is even more important that they must be made aware about all the implications of their actions before making any wrong choice. Fr. John said: ‘If we look into the heinous crimes against women, we will see that there is a growing shift towards perverse and hedonistic approach in our society. The spiritual aspect of sexuality is being obscured by the materialistic side.”
For those who are scandalized at the mention of sex education and tend to overlook it, the words that Fr. John has are ‘ignoring is multiplying the problem’. He admits that since most of the teachers in school are not aware of developmental psychology, it is about time that special initiatives are taken by the government and the school to educate the teachers and make them adept at the subject. Fr. John continued: “Technology has a much bigger role to play in spreading awareness among children, adolescents and young adults alike.”
Apart from inviting experts and counselors to the school for interaction with students, Fr. John personally ensures to hold individual as well as group discussion sessions to explain things in a friendly manner. The one point that he always gives emphasis on during these discussions is that freedom without responsibility is futile and always results in serious repercussions. He sums it up by saying: “The various social, cultural and spiritual aspects of sex education can be fully addressed only when the parents and teachers take collective responsibility to assure the child with a healthy and logical environment free of superstitions and in both home and school.”
Take a leap towards future
We support the points championed by these two stalwart academicians and urge all our readers to stop considering sex education as a forbidden subject. We really wish that Sex Education becomes compulsory in every school to ensure that the next generation is no longer plagued with the curses of misogyny and sexual crimes.
If you want this education to begin at your kid’s school or any other school, inform us. Our team will support you in taking the motive forward to the school’s authorities. If ‘Sex education’ has been called ‘taboo’, let us rename it the opposite.
By Deep Mukherjee,