February 05, 2012

Sex education in schools -improper curriculum

My daughter who studies in a mixed school with majority of students who are girls tells my wife that biology teacher is not taking the chapter on reproduction properly. The teacher just read out a few sentences from the text book and skipped the chapter. She is embarrassed to teach about male and female sex organs and reproductive mechanisms in the classroom when boys are present. 

A teacher even jokingly (or seriously(?)!) asked the student to draw underwears to the diagrams of nude male and female figures in the textbooks showing their sex organs and the girls did exactly that...

When my wife told this to me, to her astonishment, I justified the teacher. While I was listening my mind was raising.

In another division of the school the teacher taught this chapter when boys have gone out for playing.

I remarked that the teacher was not wrong but the curriculum makers are. How to impart sex education to school students? Is it essential to teach them all these at all?

We live in a society where sex is taboo and a dirty word in the open, but enjoyed well in the closed rooms. The children are fooled to believe that everything related to sex is dirty and sin and fatally risky. They cannot imagine their parent engaging in these acts. They cannot imagine their respected elders have anything to do with sex. In fact most elders these days even see porn movies in the internet and enjoy sex mostly through self stimulation otherwise known as masturbation.

The children are confused. They do not know what attitude they must take in this topic. They know about the changes but are filled with guilt when they succumb to the natural instincts leading to acts of self stimulation. So somebody has to tell them that all the changes they are undergoing are natural and perfectly ok and that there is no problem if a child feel like having sex. In fact most children do have fantasies of having sex with even elders and in most cases they are filled with guilt for the sin they have committed in thinking dirty things.

The truth is 

1. Sex is natural and therefore scientific fact.
2. If a creature allows itself to go with natural instincts (which means a program that acts upon it without its own willful intervention) there is no need to teach sex..it comes naturally and it acts naturally when it sees its girl or boy (of the same species). 
3. Humans cannot go along with natural instincts and have sex whenever and wherever he or she feels. They have to suppress the feelings or release it through self stimulation otherwise known as masturbation.
4. They have to be taught in the childhood against sexual exploitation, against sexual aggression, against guilt feelings associated with the feeling of wrong doing and advise them to wait for their chance to have sex with legal partners in a future date.

It is still debated how much should be taught as part of sex education and how much should be withheld. There is also deep uncertainty about the teaching methodology. I feel that the teaching method should be culture dependent. Education cannot suddenly overtake the cultural background of the society in which the students and teachers live. 

If we take extreme cases in sex education, on one end we could have scenario where talking about and discussing sex in the classroom and curriculum should be as taboo as it is in the society. On the other extreme, in a liberal society, a teacher (in an imaginary case) actually shows to the class the sex organs of a human being and the act of sex (it is a fantasy that is actually shown in some porn videos). The latter is the demonstration technique that one uses as teaching methodology very commonly in science classes, but unthinkable when it is about the topic on sex education.

I suggest that the present curriculum is not properly designed to impart sex education. Sex education curriculum should 

1. aim at letting pupils know all about reproductive mechanisms, social attitudes towards sex, need to observe self restrain for the sake of cultural reasons and their own safety.
2. It should take into consideration the cultural background of students and teachers and should not unnecessary create embarrassing situations in the schools.

I suggest the following-
- every school must have counselling faculty appointed
-the curriculum must have a subject called LIFE SKILLS and the counselling faculty must impart sex education and part of life skills taught. 
-lessons on reproduction and sex education must be part of LIFE SKILLS class not of biology class.
-the class lessons on the sex education must be taught in small groups of not more than 6 students at a time
-same gender teachers must impart sex education to avoid embarrassment to both students and teachers in the Indian cultural milieu.

It is better if doctors are engaged to take classes related to sex education and delink the responsibility from teachers

1 comment:

Rosemary said...

good thought and suggestions