Unawareness and sex can be disturbing and at times, even a fatal brew for young minds. As such, this is what a survey of 35 sex education projects conducted in 1993, by the World Health Organization (WHO), had to conclude about this issue. It clearly stated that sex education in schools did not encourage youth to have sex at an earlier age or more frequently. Contrarily, the survey revealed that early sex education discourages an early start of sexual activity, lessens sexual activity among youth and encourages those who are already sexually active to have safer sex. Adolescents, particularly in the age group of 16 to 19 years, are spoiling their youth with early pregnancies, abortions, AIDS, mental tension and sexually transmitted diseases. Providing them with proper sex education can help tackle these problems to quite an extent.
Sex Education For Teenagers In India
Against all the pandemonium, the need to arrive at a decision regarding sex education seems all the more pertinent when viewed against a study that reveals the preference for pre-marital sex is growing among the 300 million young people, in the 12-24 age group, in India. A recent survey conducted by a reputed Indian news magazine disclosed that of all unmarried young Indians, 69 per cent of men admitted to pre-marital sex, compared to 38 per cent of women. Even in the 16-19 age group, 45 per cent of the people had pre-marital sex.
Another survey showed that one in every six women in India, falling in the age group 15 to 19 years, starts to have children. This calls for sex education in India more than any other country, since early marriages ensure that you not only have sex at a young age, but you also undergo teenage pregnancy. Backed by National Aids Control Organization (NACO), the Adult Education Programme (AEP) focuses on safer sex along with the physical and mental development of children of 14-18 years.
Adult Education Programme also insists that pre-marital sex along with sex outside marriage is immoral, unethical and unhealthy. Consensual sex before the age of 16 ‘amounts to rape’. A nationwide study conducted by the Department of Women and Child Development stated that 53.2% children have faced one or more forms of sexual abuse and more than half the perpetrators were known to them. Educating youth about sex is very essential, so that they can protect themselves against such abuse.
Sex Education In Indian Schools
One issue that has received the most varied responses from different quarters of the society is the introduction of sex education in schools and other educational institutions in India. Even the apex court in the country has repeatedly been emphasizing that it cannot bring sex education within the purview of fundamental rights, by making it a part of the right to education. The real problem is that there is no clear accord in India, over the issue of introducing sex education in educational institutions.
The people opposing sex education point out that India is a traditional society and claim that promulgation of sex education will give youth undue fillip to take interest in the issue. On the contrary, a certain section of the intelligentsia and NGOs in India that have been working closely with different social groups opine that introducing sex education in school curriculum will play crucial role in checking the increase of rape cases and unwanted pregnancies in youth.
A study conducted in Haryana urban and rural schools showed a startling rise in condom awareness. After the sex education class, 78% of the rural and 33% of the urban schoolgirls refused to have sex without a condom. Prior to the class, only 5% of the rural and 10% of the urban schoolgirls had knowledge about a condom. It’s high time that the schools in India shed their so-called shyness and start educating youngsters about sex.