“Answering questions is a major part of sex education. Two rules cover the ground. First, always give a truthful answer to a question; secondly, regard sex knowledge as exactly like any other knowledge.”- Bertrand Russel.
Sex is a natural part of life and it’s the only factor which keeps life moving from one generation to the next. There are many exegeses about sex and sex education since the birth of humankind. Generally, Sex education is defined as a wide program to ensure the knowledge about sexual health, anatomy, activity, reproduction, the age of consent, reproductive health and rights, contraceptive measures, relationships, individuality and so on throughout a person’s life. It is as important as the other disciplines of study. Unfortunately, many countries refuse to include mandatory sex education as a part of their children’s curriculum because discussing sex in public is a sin in the society. Interestingly, sex education is optional in most of the countries exceptJapan where sex education is mandatory from age 10 or 11.
HISTORY AND IMPORTANCE OF SEX EDUCATION:
In the late 19th century, the “Progressive Education Movement” paved the way for “Social Hygiene” to be included in the curriculum of North American schools. At that time, knowledge about sex is mostly gained formally through school-based sex education. But during the 20th century, children started gaining knowledge from friends and the media informally. But this informal gain of knowledge was incomplete and increased the rate of teenage pregnancies in Western countries mainly after the 1960s. As a part of this, sex education was introduced without caring intense opposition from parents and society. The outbreak of Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) was another reason for the immediate implementation of sex education in schools. African countries like Swaziland, Botswana etc. leads the list of the highest rate of AIDS infection. Most of the global organizations consider sex education as a vital part of public health by highlighting some important factors like understanding the healthy and unhealthy relationship, respect to opposite-sex etc.
SEX EDUCATION IN INDIA-PAST AND PRESENT CONDITION:
- India is a very religious country. Hinduism and Buddhism are two major religions which expressed their attitude towards sex to the world. India’s sexual thoughts came from the ancient time itself. The ancient Hindu book “Kamasutra” written by “Vatsyayana” is considered to be the standard work on human sexual behaviour. India’s knowledge about sex is not only confined to a book but it is sculpted beautifully on the walls of famous temples like Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, Sun temple in Konark, Jagdish Mandir in Udaipur, Ellora caves in Maharashtra and a lot more. These sculptures are not just carvings but it was the ancient way of open sex education.
- India is one of the countries with reports of high rates of teenage pregnancies, sexual abuse and a huge number of HIV-infected people. But still, sex education in schools is considered as an unprincipled act by the society here. Surprisingly, there are many adolescent girls in India who don’t know what is menstruation in real. Most of them are from a rural background and believes that it is a curse from God or a disease. This fallacy is stuck in their head because there is no one to teach them what it actually is, not even their parents. So, there is an immense need to give the right information about their anatomy and social relationships before giving sex education because it is not only physical but also mental, psychological and social.
- Sex education in schools has been a major topic of dispute in the country. Some people highlight the need for sex education from the primary level of schooling whereas some others say that adolescent sex education is more practical.
- The government of India had to face a sour reaction from the public when the central government along with the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), National Council of Educational Research And Training (NCERT) and some UN agencies planned to launch “Adolescence Education Programme” in schools. Thirteen states banned this move as they considered sex education was against the Indian culture.
- India is a country with such a rich culture which do not promote sex education in schools stands in the top list of a number of rapes reported.2016 has the most number of rape cases reported which is nearly 33 thousand. And till date, about 95% of the sexual abuse was experienced by a known person. Most of the culprits in these cases gained informal knowledge about sexual desires from pornography and other related sources and picturised a wrong perception about women.
- Innocent girl child in India doesn’t know what is “good touch” and “bad touch”. It is because there is no one to teach them. In China, children are made aware of good touch and bad touch. Parents in India usually doesn’t talk about the sexual behaviour of human to their offspring. Parents consider it as a natural process and they will know about it anyway.
IMPROVEMENTS OR STEPS TAKEN TO PROMOTE SEX EDUCATION IN INDIA:
- Counselling parents and children about the need for sex education from schools
- Adding sex education as a mandatory part of the curriculum
- Training parents to be approachable and dependable
- Creating opportunities to ask questions without fear or embarrassment to the mentor
- Using an app which allows children to clear their curiosity in a good and understanding manner like the “Saathiya” app introduced by the government of India
As the number of rapes and child abuse rate increased in the country, the society itself came forward to flush out the superstitions and promote sex education to children. The government of India under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi inaugurated “School Health Programme” at Bijapur, Chattisgarh, under Ayushman Bharat, a national health protection scheme to make sex education mandatory. This is a good step benefitting26 crore children in the country hoping for a better and bright future as a socially responsible human being.