The Family Planning Association (FPA) has assured that the Ministry of Education’s proposal for the introduction of sex education in primary schools would only benefit young people.
That’s according to FPA President, Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, whose statement comes on the heels the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, which believes that the introduction of such topics would “inadvertently raise unbridled curiosity and exploration among pre-pubescent and pubescent students.”
However, in a release to the media, Belle Antoine said comprehensive sex education (CSE) and health and family life education (HLFE) in schools should not be seen as a counter to religious doctrine but maintained it would complement the moral and religious teachings of different faiths.
She said such a programme bolsters the knowledge and skill sets of children to make mindful, healthy and respectful decisions related to their physical well-being, emotional health, relationships and sexuality.
Belle Antoine pointed out that “Many studies have shown that the introduction of long-term national CSE/HFLE programmes has actually led to a decrease in teenage pregnancies and abortions and a decline in rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV infections among young people aged 15–24 years.”
Antoine also noted that while FPATT agreed with the Maha Sabha that parents should be the first contact of sex education, many parents have not performed their responsibility adequately and children are left to learn from mass media or their peers which may further contribute to misinformation.
She said the failure of parents to fulfil this role places many children at risk and urged the SDMS to partner with the Ministry of Education in better informing children.