MANGALORE: The Karnataka State Mental Health Task Force has an ambitious plan to introduce sex education in high school from the next academic year.
Task force chairman and renowned psychiatrist Dr KA Ashok Pai told that the module prepared by Nimhans is almost ready and will be discussed threadbare, when the task force advisory body convenes its meeting on June 23. The meeting will discuss the modalities of introduction and deliverance. The report will be placed before the members of the Mental Health Authority, which will meet in Shimoga on July 23. It will be chaired by state principal secretary Madan Gopal.
He said the basic ingredients of the module were genital identity, anatomy and physiology of the genital organs, conception and contraception, and may be menstruation, masturbation and related problems of teenage. “Sex education is not soft porn. It gives an insight to adolescents about their own bodies,” he said. The programme is aimed at students of Class 9, 10 and 11.
Since children are exposed to explicit content much earlier, why wait till Class 9? Said Dr Pai: “On an average, hormone-related changes happen during high school. People are exposed to all kinds of things at an earlier age, but psychologists, educationists and sociologists believe high school is the best time to explain it, as receptivity is much lower before that. The receptivity threshold is apparent during high school, and all over the world barring Scandinavian countries, sex education is introduced at the high school stage.”
Not that sex education is alien to state schools. The Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society (KSAPS), in collaboration with Unicef, introduced the Adolescent Education Programme (AEP) in 9,373 higher secondary government schools in 2003. But there was some resistance, and it was shown the door a couple of years later. A major reason for the resistance was the AEP manual was not “sensitive” in a conservative society.
“That’s why some words considered ‘sensitive’ and ‘harsh’ in the Indian context were removed from the Nimhans module,” said the chairman of the task force.
Dr Pai said biology teachers would be trained to impart sex education, and in the interim, special educators can go to schools once a week or fortnight to teach the subject. At the university level, MSW and psychology students will be trained. Dr Pai was of the firm belief that instances of rape and violence against women will come down if these classes are introduced.
~ Stanley Pinto, TNN