sex education

Is this the time for sexuality education in schools?

                                     -Rupendra Pokharel
Time has come. Now let’s open up.
The complexity of changing scenario has entangled us so profoundly that the knots further form another spider web as we try to undo them for getting freed. Thinking patterns have changed; truth and realities are not the same as they were just a decade ago, in fact their absolute nature has become obsolete. And us! We are hanging ourselves by the same old-worn rope which is now no longer equally strong to bear the load if we try to make our progeny hold the same and keep hanging. I am afraid, the fall is irresistible and the crash may be intolerable to our naked eyes and bare ears. Our pretence of being blind and deaf will suddenly get exposed to such a tragic sight and sound that our infinite endeavors to accustom ourselves with them will turn out to be futile and as stunned spectators, we will start looking for the corners to keep us away from them.
                Well, enough with beating the bush; let me hit the target. Taboo. Our societies are full of taboos. Sex taboo. Fertility taboo. Marriage taboo. What more and what not? Even education can be found to stand as taboo if we make a journey just a few miles away from our capital city, let alone the remote rural areas of our beautiful nation! Then, sex as a taboo does not surprise, at least, me. However, now it has started to make its way out of the cocoon and trying to fly as a matured colorful butterfly. Nature. We must realize that being nature itself an irresistible force, our irrelevant nurture cannot resist it. Then, what’s wrong in setting our sails with the tide if it is not supposed to deviating us from our path. Instead, we can save the energy on the paddle to be used in case of emergency.
                Getting into the prevalent practice. Our children are the ‘open’ members of ‘closed’ society as a result of which every covered thing is their target. In the course of uncovering them, they have become vulnerable and wounded themselves so acutely that manyatimes such wounds have appeared to be fatal evidence if not perpetually bleeding. You may question, “Who empowered them to go on uncovering things that I had kept covered for so long expecting them to rust some day?”I have the answer. I empowered my daughter. I empowered my son. I made them inquisitive. I made them curious. I exposed them to these all in covert way, indirect way, informal way and in passive way by means of education. My friend let me tell you, the thing that you had wanted to rust in its hideouts have started sparkling so dazzlingly that it has started attracting every new born by their maturity. We have kept the nature in cover. See, you have again come up with another question, “Where there in our education system do they find such references and mentions?” Yes, you are right. There is no such mention and reference throughout our education beginning form primary to highest level of tertiary education. We have so carefully selected and graded our curriculum that we have successfully prevented any such topic wanting for or, let’s say, requiring any open discussion in neither parts of the system – students or teachers. 
                Oops! Don’t be so searching, when had our education system sought active participation of guardians/parents in the course of educating their children except on the occasions of ‘utilizing’ the budget in the name of ‘campaigns’? Therefore, doing away with this question-answer session, lets go in a world trip to explore where nature is natural.
At the stage of its infancy, the thrust for starting sex education in schools was teaching children about avoiding pregnancy and keeping them safe from sexually transmitted diseases. But in many countries of the world, this education has come a long way into the stage of maturity whereby inviting more thoughts and widened notions. A resent research in America showed that the major concern of parents about the teen age intercourse was neither pregnancy nor the venereal diseases, but worries about the effects of sexual activity on their child’s psyche. It may give rise to a question how can this reference be comparable to Nepalese socio-economic context but I ask why not? What are our children devoid of, I am afraid to say (however it’s not just blame shift), except quality education and parenting proper? They have easy access to all sorts of electronic media available in most part of our nation, such that privilege to cable television; most advanced technological gadgets; and knowledge of one of the most far-reaching international language, to name a few. Under such an exposure in which our children are being reared, deactivating some X-rated sites or exercising ban on them, have we been able to serve the ends of our purposes? Therefore, there is no alternate to initiating sex education in schools.
Sex-education in every society, irrespective of developed or underdeveloped, has the evidence of facing hardship and attack during its infancy. Even in one of the most developed lands of the world the USA, this education has evidences of being a controversial issue. Had it not been implemented for fear of the criticism and attack, the concept would never get into the threshold of academic institutions. The facts available reveal that sex education had been established in Europe on a national scale in 1960’s and its practices are found to be initiated in developing countries since 1980’s. The main cause behind the initiation of this education is credited to emergence of HIV/AIDS. By the time it begun its journey and reached this destination, sexuality education no longer remains confined within avoiding pregnancy and STD’s, but it is credited as lifelong process of acquiring information and forming attitudes, beliefs, and values about identity, relationships, and intimacy. It encompasses sexual development, reproductive health, interpersonal relationships, affection, intimacy, body image, and gender roles. Sexuality education addresses the biological, socio-cultural, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of sexuality (SIECUS,  
 Furthermore, it has not remained only concern of some certain countries but U.N. organizations such as UNFPA, UNESCO, and UNICEF have been supporting sexuality education. Including World Bank, many other bilateral donors and private foundations and organizations are found to support and promote sexuality education worldwide. UNESCO in June, 2009 in its International Guidelines on Sexuality Education has made a claim that “Effective sexuality education can provide young people with age-appropriate, culturally relevant and scientifically accurate information. It includes structured opportunities for young people to explore their attitudes and values, and to practise the skills they will need to be able to make informed decisions about their sexual lives”.
 Nevertheless, implementation of this education only after effective planning, curriculum designing and proper training to teachers can help in undoing the entangled knots and stop our youth from perpetual bleeding. Well thought up program meeting the internal standard is the basis for its success or else it will further add to the woe of our bleeding youth.

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