Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sex Education Will Not Be A Specific Subject In Schools. The 'Ostrich Mentality' Lives On.

Sex education will be absorbed into current schools' syllabuses and will not be taught as a specific subject, said Women, Family and Community Development Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun.

She said the learning of the subject would be part of the education in moral, science, health, Islamic, biology, science and other programmes implemented by the Education Ministry.

"This subject will not be taught as a specific subject in schools," she told a press conference, here Wednesday.

To help teachers in handling the delicate subject, the government had formulated the Healthy Reproductive and Social Education Guideline that will be absorbed into the current education modules in schools.

Chew said currently the proposed guideline was still being discussed by the ministry and the Education Ministry to coordinate its implementation.

The guideline was developed by a technical group whose members included representatives from the Education Ministry, Health Ministry, Youth and Sports Ministry and the Malaysian Islamic Development Department.

Education Ministry Parliamentary Secretary P. Komala Dewi told the press conference that education on the subject would provide a platform for students to ask questions about sexuality matters so that they would be more sensitive towards family values and responsibilities.


She said the targeted groups for the education fall under five age categories, namely pre-school children, pupils, teenagers, youths and adults.

****** We must be one of few countries who still have not fully acknowledged the very real problem of adolescent sex. Worse still we pretend that it is not serious, and although studies have shown that our students are totally ignorant on matters pertaining to sex even at University level, our authorities prefer sandiwara to substance.

At this eleventh hour, our education ministry is still 'discussing proposed guidelines' for this half-hearted piecemeal approach to sex education. In effect what they are trying to do is to conduct sex education classes without the sex part in it! It amounts to removing the letters s,e and x from the word sex and teaching with whatever is left; a big zero. With sexual promiscuity so evident and rapidly on the rise even among school children, it is time that the education hotshots removed their collective heads buried in the sand for so long and come to terms with reality and that we are in for an epidemic of sex-related disasters unless we change our attitudes and hypocritical actions.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous mich said...

why sex education has to be a specific subject if the syllabus can be covered thoroughly in Moral/Science/Biology subjects.
U mean specific subjects like compulsory subjects beside Math, BM, BI, Moral, Sejarah and so on? U mean students can score A1 in SPM?

7:47 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Sharina said...

The Authorities prefer to pretend that it doesn't happen.

10:47 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not let children learn it the old fashioned way? When I was a kid, I learnt it from magazines smuggled by friends from more liberal countries, videotapes, etc. We discussed it amongst ourselves, tried out various techniques and had fun doing it. Making it a subject in school would only sex dull and reduce our population growth, look what happened to developed countries.

1:09 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous mich said...

Sharina:
it is not that government prefer that it doesn't happen (which I did not read that in their statement, or may be someone in their head tell us that), but rather how it is done. I still remember I learned what is STD (name, prevention and etc), pregnancy, condom/birth control use through my Science class (F3) under the chapter "Reproduction". But to create sex education as a specific subject (the idea in my my thinking like mathematic, geography, BM and etc) is a bit too far-fetched, IMHO. And then test it under the general examination like UPSR,PMR, SPM or STPM?
Another effort we tend to overlook is that they are willing to offer sex education to student as young as kindergarden. They might not teaching what is scrotum or how penetration sex is done, but they will (presumably) alert the young kids to not let others touch their private parts.

1:58 PM GMT+8  
Blogger MarinaM said...

Sex education or Family Life Education as it was called before, has always been dispersed among various subjects in our education system. This means that you have to train several different teachers to teach it, and make sure that they are all committed, to be sure that our kids get 100% of the sex education syllabus.

But what normally happens is that not all the teachers will teach it. The result is that the kids will get only some of the syllabus, and not all. Usually they get the non-embarassing parts of it. Which is why one NGO found a young boy who thought that sperm somehow came out of his knee. I kid you not.

Children HAVE been learning it the 'old fashioned way' from friends , books, magazines and now the Internet. The trouble is they don't know whether what they are learning is accurate or not. Nor do they learn about responsibility in sexual relationships, including about contraception.Learning 'the old-fashioned' way is what leads to unwanted babies, not the other way round. Just compare sex education in the UK, which is virtually non-existent and the high levels in teenage pregnancies, and sex education in The Netherlands which is done in comprehensive non-judgemental way and the correlation with its low rates of teen pregnancies.

The fact is that the Min of Education Malaysia does recognise the need for sex education, and the syllabus, which I have seen, is actually very good. But the only problem is implementation, especially ensuring that teachers are comfortable with it and will deliver it.Don't forget, many teachers have never had sex education themselves!

Also, we have no proof that 'promiscuity is rampant' among young people. Yes, there are people having sex younger than they should (including within marriage) and having babies before they should. This is NOT the same as promiscuity. We know nothing about young people's understanding of sex except that without sex education, they certainly know little about risk and responsibility. We also know very little about the sort of sexual violence that young people face, especially girls. To label them as promiscuous is not only simplistic but unfair. Please, can we stop being judgemental because it helps no one, least of all our young.

3:58 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous mich said...

Hi Marina:
just one note the sex education comparison btw UK and Netherland. I am quoting this data from OECD Social Cohesion year 2002 about the teenage fertility rates at age 15-19:
United Kingdom 28.6
New Zealand 25.6
Canada 21.9
Hungary 21.7
Slovak Republic 21.0
Portugal 20.4
And compared to the low points like:
Netherlands 7.7
Italy 7.0
Sweden 6.9
Denmark 6.6
Japan 6.2
Switzerland 5.5
Korea 2.7
I have not much sex education comparison among developed nations, but could Japan and Korea offer better sex education compared to Netherland or Canada and New Zealand doing so bad? Or there is other message we should look into as well?
Don't get me wrong, I am all in for the sex education for children and teenage, at least not that they are ignorant to be taken advantage of.

6:04 PM GMT+8  
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4:04 PM GMT+8  

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