Do we believe in Sex Education?

Despite pressure from the Centre, the Karnataka Government has decided not to introduce sex education in elementary and secondary schools, Higher Education Minister D H Shankaramurthy said addressing a press conference, and he said this decision had been taken after the issue was discussed with CM.

”The contents of the sex-education book, issued by Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, had some portions which were vulgar. These pages can not be opened in front of anybody.”

Indeed a stalemate situation for the minister who may try balance the public emotional/ moral aspects with public education needs. The debate gone beyond the supreme judgments is surely to catch some fire here as CBSE wants it to be inducted from kindergarten levels.

Are we ready to accept the fact that the same Indian culture who braved it centuries ago via Khajuraho temples detailed on this wikipedia article on History of Sex in India, an important point.

“The seeming contradictions of Indian attitudes towards sex can be best explained through the context of history. India played a significant role in the history of sex, from writing the first literature that treated sexual intercourse as a science, to in modern times being the origin of the philosophical focus of new-age groups’ attitudes on sex. It may be argued that India pioneered the use of sexual education through art and literature. As in all societies, there was a difference in sexual practices in India between common people and powerful rulers, with people in power often indulging in hedonistic lifestyles that were not representative of common moral attitudes.”

The divide in thinking, acceptance and double standards continue to play the vital part in accepting the theory of Sex Education, history repeats I must say. Not sure weather the issue can or will have an immediate resolution in near future, me think better wait and watch and continue to ‘manage’ the questions my 12 yr old son keeps throwing at us as quite often. What say you?

8 Comments so far

  1. Briju Prasad (unregistered) on May 1st, 2007 @ 4:33 am

    Good post Rajesh….and timely with all the huh hah around it!

    What surprises me is the govt’s total lack of consultations with teachers,Parents and students thoughts about this topic.

    I wonder why talking about sex is such a taboo in India…..given we have had a very good history suggestive of different sexual practices.
    I suppose sometimes we confuse sex education to just the act of sex…

    I would imagine its about knowing ones body,reproductive-organs,biology,menstruation,expressions of healthy practices,curiosity,safe sexual methods and also allievate ones anxiety about body’s response to adolescence/puberty.

    I guess there is a lot of shame associated with talk of such things…..which is not seen to be helpful in a healthy society…..
    There are many researches to support the cause of Sex education and its implications.
    One great example I can think about is HIV/AIDS,
    Proper sex education would bring down the prevelance of such an illness(I am not sure about the exact statistics……but I guess its significant)

    The point here is,we all know its useful but are not confident enough to make a case for it….I guess it roots from our own insecurities…..we never grew up being taught about sex….inturn we dont assume its our responsibility…..I guess this is where we need to turn the corner and question our own perceptions and perhaps start considering some of the evidence base around it…..All we need now is a dialogue/consultation.

    I only hope this will not end up like the never ending signs of denial we have in our society now?


  2. randramble (unregistered) on May 1st, 2007 @ 9:54 am

    What is kept hidden will continue to give rise to curiousity, experimentation, ignorance, irresponsibility, harassment and the like.


  3. Suyog (unregistered) on May 1st, 2007 @ 10:22 am

    It is just not enough to have the policy in place along with the textbooks. We also need the right kind of teachers who can teach the topic in the right kind of way. I remember we had some surface level topics related to sex education when I was studying in school. The teachers would either completely skip the topic citing that no questions would be asked in the examinations on it or would cover it in such a confused fashion that you would be left with more questions than answers at the end of it. IMHO, a better way to deal with this issue would be for schools to enlist the support of NGOs/Professionals to conduct workshops to effectively drive the message home. Teachers can also attend these workshops and equip themeselves to conduct the training on their own later. Knowing how the education system operates in India, sex education is best left out of the syllabus if we are serious enough to ensure its delivery. It would also help for parents to either train themselves on how to talk about this sensitive issue with their children or again take the help of professionals to do the same.


  4. Charles Haynes (unregistered) on May 1st, 2007 @ 11:09 am

    Isn’t the most obvious explanation of current puritanical attitudes about sex that they are a legacy of the British? Specifically Victorian era attitudes brought and imposed during the Raj? Certainly section 377 comes from that time.

    As for how to deal with questions from 12 year olds, my attitude has always been “If they are old enough to ask the question, they’re old enough to deserve a straight answer.” Certainly the answers need to be couched in age appropriate language, but not in evasions, euphemisms, or embarrassment.

    When high school students don’t know that pregancy comes from having sexual intercourse, or that the risk of sexually transmitted diseases is hugely reduced by use of a condom, there’s something wrong. We’re not talking about teaching kids advanced techniques for pleasing someone sexually, we’re talking basic public health information.

    Prudery is killing children.


  5. Sid (unregistered) on May 1st, 2007 @ 11:51 am

    I find it very touching that some people in this day and age believe schools and the government can teach anything well. I assume readers of this blog are adults. I challenge you adults to look back over your lives in school. Now that you are older and, hopefully, wiser, can you recall the lessons you had to sit through which you now recognize were bunkum, misinformation, distortions, propoganda and/or out of date? One thing I have learned from school is that I really learned very little at school.

    Some people here seem to want the state, in the form of schools, to teach almost everything about life. Behind your back, these people really are saying they want the state to displace parents as the most important influence on the minds of children. Even in as intimate an area of life as sex, some people want the state to have the power to shape children’s minds and inculcate values. Parents’ only role is to produce children that the state can educate in the beliefs the state wants to enforce.

    School is wonderful for teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Outside these basics, I am extremely suspicious of the motivations of groups which want to use schools to indoctrinate children “for their own good.” I suspect “sex education” is one more area of schooling people will look back on when they are older and ask “What were those teachers thinking?”


  6. Chitra (unregistered) on May 1st, 2007 @ 1:24 pm

    I have to agree with Sid. I would rather own up and do this bit by myself. However, I wonder about all the kinds of children at schools here. Not everybody’s parents is going to be sitting with them and telling them stuff. Then what? I have no answers to that one, but I would truly hope the state leaves my kids alone when it comes to this.


  7. nParry (unregistered) on May 1st, 2007 @ 8:17 pm

    What is more vulgar than elected politicians and officials stealing from the public for decades on end and not providing the very basic amenities to “Veera Kannadigas?” Off with their heads!! (no pun intended)


  8. SHADOW (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2007 @ 11:17 am

    Well,Forget about sex education, What our country is much needed for the moment is good education at the rural level, Sex education can be a later priority , Many rural places dont have a class room to sit,If they have also the room consists of more than one class, some even teach under the tree even now.So when the situation of education is this what we should priortize ?



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