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Why Sex Education?

On April 1, 2007 Maharashtra became the third state in India to ban sex education after Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Quite appropriately isn’t it; after all wasn’t it the fool’s day??

Why is sex education important – our MLA’s ask – after all didn’t their generation learn everything there was about sex, without any formal education? By that argument, shouldn’t we ban schooling as a whole? After all, in medieval times, didn’t most people learn their about earning a livelihood without proper schooling – by learning the trade from their parents. Indeed, a return to the dreaded varna vyavastha (caste system) would appease our politicians the most! Ranting apart [Since GreatBong is better at it]– here is my argument as to why sex education is important.

On April 4, NDTV released this sting operation [Link via: AlooTechie], demonstrating how the children of today are not only prone to cerebral exposure to carnal matters through the TV and internet, but can also fall prey to physical abuse by paedophiles.

The subject of the NDTV story isn’t unique. Catching child sex abusers has been made into a popular TV series titled, To Catch a Predator (TCAP), in the US. I came to know about TCAP from a TV documentary I saw on BBC. The documentary also established how such predators take advantage of the lack of knowledge about sex in children, to lure them into a meeting which results into a forced or enticed sexual encounter.

In fact, the NDTV article details the actual transcript of the chat that the NDTV correspondent had with the predator – a brief look would reveal how the predator tries to take advantage of the hidden curiosity about sex in the kid to illicit sex with her.

Physical abuse is one of the most gruesome acts on children and however little the number of such cases might be – they can have serious psychological effects – and in a country like India even the social effects cannot be ruled out.

On the other side are psychological effects of sexual information that children get from TV and the internet – information more tantalizing than educational. The exposure to the western culture – filled with references to prom nights and lewd dialogues is even more threatening. The DPS-RKPuram case [1][2] was demonstrative of the effects. And considering that the case was just one that came to light out of the several suppressed ones – one cannot rule out that unsafe teenage sex is probably a reality in the present day India, however we might shy away from truth!

In such a scenario where children will anyway learn about sex, wouldn’t it be better that they be taught the right things in school, from valid sources and in a proper and unadulterated style, than learning anything and everything (correct or incorrect) from invalidated sources?

I agree that there should be a limit to what should be taught and how. The fact that our cultural milieu does not encourage a very candid discussion, especially between people belonging to different generations, needs to be considered and syllabi and course material needs to be sensitive towards the same. But I certainly don’t agree with some journalists that imparting sex education is all about aping the west.

We in India are as much exposed to the threats posed by internet and television as are children in the west and hence sex education assumes importance in light of our own needs.


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