Have you ever tried talking about sex with your Indian parents? How did that go? Let me know about that below in the comment section. Well, for me, it was disastrous. It was so bad, that I thought only bad people have sex. When I finally realized its a necessity, I was actually disgusted that my parents also had sex to have me. As hilarious as that sounds, it’s true. And remember in School, that one lesson in our biology textbook which talked about “coitus”? It was the student’s favorite and the teacher’s nightmare! And even that lesson, didn’t really teach us much about our sexual health. The curriculum labeled major chunks of it including the female external genitalia, mammary glands, and menstrual cycle, as out of the syllabus. That’s it, folks! Our schools taught us only this much “sex education”.
Implementation of Sex Education in Indian Schools
If you search on the internet, you will find a number of articles stressing the importance of sex education in India. We all can very well understand It’s time to prioritize sex education in India. But how to go about it, is the question. Even though it’s 2020, it’s still taboo to talk about sex in India. Introducing sex education in schools is a challenge in itself.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to Adolescent sex education. One group of people support it on the grounds that it will help adolescents make educated sexual choices. The other group argues that it is against the values inculcated in Indian society. They think it will only give ideas to the children and lead to irresponsible sexual behavior.
In 2007, the NACO and the MHRD, Govt. of India started a scheme for the adolescent education programme. It intended to raise basic sexual awareness amongst the school children. Unfortunately, it had to face a large number of controversies. They argued that it is demeaning to the Indian society. It would threaten the rich family values and ethics Indians possess. As a consequence, a number of states labeled the attempt as unacceptable. Some politicians strongly opposed the idea. The school teachers faced threats of losing jobs if they tried to introduce sex education. The majority of people think sex education means teaching adolescents how to have sex. And it is this flawed thought which increases the opposition to sex education.
What does Statistics suggest?
As I said, there are two schools of thought, when it comes to the implementation of sex education. The people opposing sex education outnumber those who support it. Of course, every one of us has our own opinions in the matter. But what are the scientific evidence suggesting?
- A number of studies conducted in various countries are in favor of sex education. They show that it plays a key role in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS.
- A study in India revealed that the majority of teachers supported sex education. 28.6% of them considered 14 to be the best age to start. Doctors and teachers held similar views.
- Research conducted over 7 co-ed schools in India revealed the huge gap in the knowledge about sexual health.
- An interesting observation shows that a number of adolescents lack knowledge despite getting sexual education. This shows a major flaw in the technique in which sex education is imparted, if at all.
- More educated guardians are in favor of sex education for their children.
- According to the youth study, 81% of males, and 83% of females feel the need for sex education.
Thus, the importance of sex education is very prominent. The majority of youth in India is also willing to receive education on sexual health.
How to make sex education more acceptable?
Spreading awareness is the key to implement sex education.
- About 2.3 million people in India are currently suffering from HIV/AIDS. This shows a lack of knowledge about STDs and basic sexual hygiene. It’s first important to spread adequate knowledge about these diseases. It would make people realize the need for sex education for their children.
- Sex isn’t a threat to Indian culture. It isn’t a taboo. In fact, ancient India celebrated the creation of lives openly. The Shivalingam which is worshipped by the majority of the Indian society celebrates creation. The sculptures on The Sun temple, etc. say the same story. India is also the land where a book like Kamasutra was written. It is important to make people realize that sex is a very natural act. It might make them more open-minded to sex education.
- Sex education does not only teach about sexual health. It also teaches consent and respect. India sees 88 rape cases per day. Sex education would do wonders in reducing rape crimes. People should be made aware of how safe sex education would make them feel.
- India is rich in cultural diversity. The Government should consult the local NGOs before implementing the Sex Education Curriculum in a state. The socio-economic status isn’t the same everywhere. Every state might not accept the same curriculum. The idea is to spread awareness in every home. Only a collaborative effort can achieve that.
Talking about sex is taboo in India. People consider it to be very indecent. Ironically, ancient Indian artifacts prove how open-minded Vedic India was in this regard. Anyhow, this perception of sex makes it difficult for Indians to accept Sex Education. It leaves Indian adolescents curious. It also makes sex very mysterious. Lack of proper sex education leaves a lacuna in sexual health knowledge. It is one of the main reasons why India is leading to STDs and sexual crimes. Some people do realize the importance of sex education, but a vast majority don’t. They oppose it stating it would pollute tender minds. They say it threatens strong family values. But statistics and scientific shreds of evidence show otherwise.
Thus, it’s important to make it more accepting. Citizens should understand it’s for the greater good. Awareness is the key to achieve this. A joint effort by the central, state, and district authorities can help to achieve this. We as citizens have a major role to play as well.
Let’s encourage Sex Education in India for the betterment of society at large!Debsruti Dasgupta