Sex Education – A Desperate Need of Our Country
Sex is one of the most common activities an individual participates in. It’s the basis of our existence. It is an undeniable fact that human beings around the world engage in sexual activities and just like any other aspect in our life there are certain precautions we need to take to ensure that sex whether performed for pleasure or for raising a child is done in a safe and secure manner. There is huge amount of information a person must learn before engaging in sexual activities. This information must be provided by a trusted source who has a significant experience in the field. This can be a doctor, sex-ed teacher or even one’s own parents. But the sad reality is that sex is a huge taboo in our society. Sex is seen as a shameful act one must participate in and any discussion of it is prohibited at all costs. The best example for this is when there is any form of sexual interaction between two characters on a television screen the children look away from the screen to show shame. The levels of social interaction vary from different cultures and what an individual does in private is completely their choice. But ignorance to an act that can at times have life threatening consequences cannot be tolerated at any cost.
The best way to overcome this problem is through sex education. It’s a no brainer but the reality is that with India’s all-time high population and increase in sexually transmitted diseases, there clearly is a problem with the population learning the required information. Abortion is illegal in India and therefore it must be the top priority of the government to educate all citizens of the country to practice safe sex.
India in the year 2005 passed the Right to Education Bill which made it mandatory for children to attend school until the age of 14. This allowed the government to teach these young children about sex education. But the reality is that a very few children only attend school. In India there are over 190 million adolescents where only 30 % are literate out of which majority of the students are male. This shows that sex education in schools is simply not enough to educate the youth of our country. But again, even in schools the taboo of sex makes it a difficult subject to teach. The National Council of Educational Research and Training created a simpler curriculum for sex education and avoided making it a separate subject but the local teachers refused to adopt this new curriculum. Even though various ideas have been brought forward by the government it often faces huge backlash. In the year 2007 India’s Ministry of Human Resource introduced a new sex education curriculum but was met by a huge amount of opposition. People were afraid that this would corrupt the youth and also make them forget their Indian values. This led to a large amount of states including Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Goa to ban sex education in their particular state.
Even sex education for adults has been in vain. NGO’s in the country have attempted to help with the situation but with the lack of funding and little to no attendance there is not any significant change. Sexual assault can reduce vastly with proper sex education. Often parents fail to teach their children about how to respect other genders and how their actions and words are hurtful. One of the major defenses men use for sexual assault is ignorance which is not valid in any sense. Therefore, with proper sex education a clear line can be set for individuals to understand what they can and cannot do.
So how do we combat this issue. Firstly, a new bill must be passed that has a unified curriculum that is not adopted state wise but nationwide. The curriculum should be based on latest scientific data and not based on certain religious beliefs. It should not only focus on sex but also the changing bodies of adolescent youth. Once a school in Gujarat implemented a system where students were allowed to drop questions anonymously. Majority of those questions included menstruation, physical changes, masturbation etc. Both boys and girls should learn about their changing bodies as well as the opposite sex’s changes. The subject should not only be included in all private and public schools but also should be readily available to older individuals especially in rural regions. The bill must become law and any individual refusing to attend or teach the subject must face consequences. The law on the surface might be harsh, but if the nation has any chance of developing a healthy and sustainable youth then such precautions must be strictly enforced.
With such a stringent law set in place there is going to be a significant reduction in Sexually Transmitted Diseases throughout the country, a huge decrease in involuntary child birth and a large reduction in sexual abuse or at least more sexual assault cases will be reported.
Controlling sex is one of the biggest needs in our country. But instead of forcefully preventing individuals from taking part in the act we need to educate and teach individuals about the consequences of the act. The biggest problem we face right now is the inability of people to address such a serious issue. We as a society need to stop stigmatising sex but instead treat it as a normal phenomenon. Parents need to take an active part in their children’s sexual life. Create an environment where they feel safe to ask questions openly. They need to teach their children about how important it is to practice safe sex. If children do not get the information they need, they are going to find other alternative sources which could give wrong and even hurtful information. The reality is that people are going to have sex no matter what so isn’t it much better that they do so with proper precautions so that they don’t regret a mistake for the rest of their lives.
Author: Ben Jose Jose,
IFIM Law School, 1st year