All Systems Go for Sex Ed in High School

Manila Bulletin, June 2, 2010 | Go to article overview

All Systems Go for Sex Ed in High School


It's final. The Department of Education will integrate sex education as a subject in the basic curriculum of almost 150 schools this coming school year.

Much as it is already a done deal, issues about its full implementation has yet to be settled what with strong oppositions coming from various stakeholders, including the Catholic Church.

Education Secretary Mona Valisno said the DepEd has been strongly pushing for the integration of sex education in the basic education curriculum - specifically in elementary subjects - because there is a need to raise awareness of young people on sexuality, hygiene, interpersonal relationships, and gender issues and status.

Valisno said that sex education will help make the youth aware on the consequences of premarital sex and address the rising cases of sex-related diseases among young people.

"We have now reached an alarming rate because of lack of knowledge in the subject. The Philippines is currently witnessing an increase of new Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection among 15 to 24 year old Filipinos from 41 in 2007 to 218 in 2009," she revealed.

Apart from rising cases of infection, Valisno explained that misperception about HIV is still prevalent among Filipino youth and more are engaging in pre-marital sex.

"Sex education in the basic curriculum is also very timely with all the distractions available for young students. There is nothing wrong with it since the topic is being taught and discussed in subjects like Science and Edukasyong Pantahan at Pangkabuhayan (EPP)," she said.

Valisno said it will be so much better if teachers in our schools will discuss sex education with students instead of letting them pick up ideas about sex from dubious sources such as the Internet.

"It would be best if sex education will be formally included in the education system to make learning about it mandatory," she explained.

SEX ED, RP STYLE

"Sex education" refers to a broad term that is used to describe education about human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual intercourse, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, contraception, and other aspects of human sexual behavior.

It also encompasses education about all aspects of sexuality - including information about family planning; reproduction such as fertilization, conception and development of the embryo and fetus through to childbirth; information about all aspects of one's sexuality including the body image, sexual orientation, sexual pleasure, values, decision making, communication, dating, relationships, sexually transmitted infections (STSTIs) and how to avoid these, and various birth control methods.

In many countries worldwide, sex education is taught formally in schools by trained teachers as well as health care providers. It is taught as a full course as part of the curriculum in junior high school or high school or a part of a unit within more broad classes such as biology, health, home economics or physical education classes.

Many international agencies such as United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association have published reports that support the effectiveness of sex education programs.

However, in the Philippines, sex education remains a controversial issue especially with regard to the age at which children should start receiving such education, the amount of detail that is revealed, and topics dealing with human sexual behavior such as safe sex practices, masturbation, premarital sex, and sexual ethics.

WHAT'S STOPPING IT?

Aside from morality issues, the program's full implementation faces constitutionality issues.

Ang Kapatiran party candidate Jo Aurea Imbong claimed that only parents should teach children about sex and reproductive health since the 1987 Constitution mandates it. …

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