RATIONAL FOR THE INTRODUCTION OF SEX EDUCATION IN SCHOOL CURRICULUM
Sexuality is an important aspect of the life of a human being and almost all people, including children, want to know about it. Sex education includes all the educational measures which – regardless of the particular method used – may center on sex. He further said that sex education stands for protection, presentation extension, improvement and development of the family based on accepted ethical ideas.
Sex education is instruction on issues relating to human sexuality, including human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual activity, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, sexual abstinence, and birth control. Common avenues for sex education are parents or caregivers, formal school programs, and public health campaigns. Burt defined sex education as the study of the characteristics of beings: a male and female. Such characteristics make up the person’s sexuality. Leepson sees sex education as instruction in various physiological, psychological and sociological aspects of sexual response and reproduction. Kearney (2008) also defined sex education as “involving a comprehensive course of action by the school, calculated to bring about the socially desirable attitudes, practices and personal conduct on the part of children and adults, that will best protect the individual as a human and the family as a social institution.” Thus, sex education may also be described as “sexuality education”, which means that it encompasses education about all aspects of sexuality, including information about family planning, reproduction (fertilization, conception and development of the embryo and fetus, through to childbirth), plus information about all aspects of one’s sexuality including: body image, sexual orientation, sexual pleasure, values, decision making, communication, dating, relationships, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and how to avoid them, and birth control methods
Slyer stated that sex education teaches the young person what he or she should know for his or her personal conduct and relationship with others. Gruenberg also stated that sex education is necessary to prepare the young for the task ahead. According to him, officials generally agree that some kind of planned sex education is necessary.
Sex education may be taught informally, such as when someone receives information from a conversation with a parent, friend, religious leader, or through the media. It may also be delivered through sex self-help authors, magazine advice columnists, sex columnists, or sex education web sites. Formal sex education occurs when schools or health care providers offer sex education.
Sometimes formal sex education is taught as a full course as part of the curriculum in junior high school or high school. Other times it is only one unit within a more broad biology class, health class, home economics class, or physical education class. Some schools offer no sex education, since it remains a controversial issue in several countries, particularly the United States (especially with regard to the age at which children should start receiving such education, the amount of detail that is revealed, including LGBT sex education, and topics dealing with human sexual behavior, e.g. safe sex practices, masturbation, premarital sex, and sexual ethics)
RATIONAL FOR INTRODUCING SEX EDUCATION IN SCHOOL CURRICULUM
The rationale behind the introduction of sex education to school curriculum are numerous as we know that if sex education is introduced and going to be effective, it needs to include opportunities for young people to develop skills, as it can be hard for them to act on the basis of only having information.
1. Sex education aims to reduce the risks of potentially negative outcomes from sexual behaviour, such as unwanted or unplanned pregnancies and infection with sexually transmitted diseases including HIV. It also aims to contribute to young people’s positive experience of their sexuality, by enhancing the quality of their relationships and their ability to make informed decisions over their lifetime. Sex education should be more than just puberty and reproductive biology; it should help young people to be safe and enjoy their sexuality.
2. The skills young people develop as part of sex education are linked to more general life-skills. Being able to communicate, listen, negotiate with others, ask for and identify sources of help and advice, are useful life-skills which can be applied to sexual relationships. Effective sex education develops young people’s skills in negotiation, decision-making, assertion and listening. Other important skills include being able to recognise pressures from other people and to resist them, dealing with and challenging prejudice and being able to seek help from adults – including parents, careers and professionals – through the family, community and health and welfare services.
3. Sex education that works also helps equip young people with the skills to be able to differentiate between accurate and inaccurate information, and to discuss a range of moral and social issues and perspectives on sex and sexuality, including different cultural attitudes and sensitive issues like sexuality, abortion and contraception.
4. Effective sex education also provides school pupils and young people with an opportunity to explore the reasons why people have sex, and to think about how it involves emotions, respect for one self and other people and their feelings, decisions and bodies. Young people should have the chance to explore gender differences and how ethnicity and sexuality can influence people’s feelings and options. They should be able to decide for themselves what the positive qualities of relationships are. It is important that they understand how bullying, stereotyping, abuse and exploitation can negatively influence relationships.
In school the interaction between the teacher and young people takes a different form and is often provided in organised blocks of lessons. It is not as well suited to advising the individual as it is to providing information from an impartial point of view.
5.The most effective sex education acknowledges the different contributions each setting can make. School programmes which involve parents, notifying them what is being taught and when, can support the initiation of dialogue at home.
School-based sex education can be an important and effective way of enhancing young people’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviour. There is widespread agreement that formal education should include sex education. Evidence suggests that effective school programmes will include the following elements:
• A focus on reducing specific risky behaviours
• A basis in theories which explain what influences people’s sexual choices and behaviour
• A clear, and continuously reinforced message about sexual behaviour and risk reduction
• Providing accurate information about, the risks associated with sexual activity, about contraception and birth control, and about methods of avoiding or deferring intercourse
• Dealing with peer and other social pressures on young people; providing opportunities to practise communication, negotiation and assertion skills
• Uses a variety of approaches to teaching and learning that involve and engage young people and help them to personalise the information
• Uses approaches to teaching and learning which are appropriate to young people’s age, experience and cultural background
• Is provided by people who believe in what they are saying and have access to support in the form of training or consultation with other sex educators
Formal programmes with all these elements have been shown to increase young people’s levels of knowledge about sex and sexuality, put back the average age at which they first have sexual intercourse and decrease risk when they do have sex. In addition to this, effective sex education is supported by links to sexual health services and takes into account the messages about sexual values and behaviour young people get from other sources (such as friends and the media). It is also responsive to the needs of the young people themselves – whether they are girls or boys, on their own or in a single sex or mixed sex group, and what they know already, their age and experiences.
Sex education is also about developing young people’s skills so that they make informed choices about their behaviour, and feel confident and competent about acting on these choices. Sex education (‘sex ed’), which is sometimes called sexuality education or sex and relationships education, is the process of acquiring information and forming attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual identity, relationships and intimacy.
It is widely accepted that young people have a right to sex education. This is because it is a means by which they are helped to protect themselves against abuse, exploitation, unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV and AIDS. It is also argued that providing sex education helps to meet young people’s rights to information about matters that affect them, their right to have their needs met and to help them enjoy their sexuality and the relationships that they form.
• Tupper, Kenneth (2013). “Sex, Drugs and the Honour Roll: The Perennial Challenges of Addressing Moral Purity Issues in Schools”. Critical Public Health 24 (2): 115–131. doi:10.1080/09581596.2013.862517.
• • “Namibia National Policy on HIV/AIDS for the Education Sector” (PDF). USAID Health Policy Initiative. 2003. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 8, 2013. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
• • Piya Sorcar (December 1, 2010). “A New Approach to Global HIV/AIDS Education”. The Huffington Post. Retrieved December 16, 2010.
• • SIECUS Report of Public Support of Sexuality Education (2009)SIECUS Report Online at the Wayback Machine
• • Sex Education in America. (Washington, DC: National Public Radio, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard Kennedy School of Government, 2004), p. 5.
• • Sari Locker, (2001) Sari Says: The real dirt on everything from sex to school. HarperCollins: New York.
• • SIECUS Fact Sheet (includes research citations).
• • Referred in paper by Jeanette De La Mare. October 2011.
• Rubin and Kindendall (2001)