Saturday, June 5, 2010

Educating the Kids About ‘It’: Sex Education in Schools


As we near the end of the summer vacation, most of the Filipinos are now set for the coming school year, be it parents gearing their kids up for their first day in school or college students preparing their pockets for the dizzying tuition fees that surround them.

Pre-teenage kids are in the spotlight right now, to the headache of some. News has conveyed to us recently that one of the new things that shall greet the students is having lessons about sex education. Specifically, this notorious and highly controversial sex education thing shall be taught to students in grade five and higher. It did not surprise me really about the obvious reluctance of the parents and some church officials about this. The opposition against Reproductive Health Bill a few years back is a glimpse already to the outlook of most, if not all, of the Filipinos whenever the ‘sex’ thing is the topic.

Misconceptions

I am dubious myself to a certain extent if I can call them misconceptions: those pre-conceived ideas of the people about what this sex education shall constitute. But nevertheless, it is very frustrating to see how Filipinos tend to give way to some reservations in favor of some “convictions” that do not have sound foundations anyway.

For one, I don’t believe that this sex education shall be teaching the ‘exact’ things of how to ‘do’ ‘it.’ (I am using quotation marks liberally to emphasize that we really consider ‘it’ vulgar to a large extent.) Perhaps in time I shall be corrected or what, but having the term ‘education’ there constitutes conscientious (if I may be allowed to use the word) teaching, situating what shall be imparted to the kids in a context that shall make them responsible individuals and not entice them to experiment for themselves.

Some elders may be forgetting their past lessons at school for they only agree that parts of the reproductive system can be taught, but no the process of reproduction itself. Man, I can still very remember my Science V subjects, complete with visuals and videos about the reproductive system! This sex education is a whole different thing, geared to open up the kids on the problems of overpopulation (and poverty to some extent, I believe) and bring them to the more fundamental reasons for them, and that it is the lack of comprehension and responsible handling of the issues of sex, teenage sex, family, and parenting, among other.

The Church Comments

Being a country of predominant Roman Catholics, the Church seems to have that unspoken ‘say’ on things, especially regarding ‘sex’. It was harrowing enough to have religion classes squeezed in to our Tuesdays afternoons (although the female student teachers were really attractive), but to hear the comment that the sex education must be molded into the biblical context would be an overkill. Sex must be attacked in very human terms. And although religion purports to deal with the daily living of man, this sex education must be left alone on its own and must be learned for what it really is. I can concede only as far as teaching them that sex must be done within the context of marriage. But apart from it, people – young and old alike – should make a full understanding of it and how it affects our present society and our future as well.

We hope for so much changes and progress in our country that sometimes we tend to forget one necessary act to proceed with these desires. And that is the acceptance that changes must happen first within us. Sex education may just be mere educating the children, but if we look farther, we may see the implications of this towards their future living. We cannot desire to be hardcore ‘conservatives’ without shedding a part of ourselves for a collective progress and/or change. Sex education is one mere speck in a multitude of aspects and issues that face us present Filipinos. If we have misgivings for such a small thing, can we expect more from other things that may require more of ourselves? Let us give sex education a try; I believe it is worth all the risks.

But in the end, we can only watch on how the agencies and officials concerned with this shall handle them, and the supposed ‘conservativeness’ of the Filipinos.

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