Is sex education system failing the youth

Is sex education system failing the youth

If you are a teenager, questions pertaining to your sexuality may be crowding your mind and causing turmoil within. They say parenting and schooling are the two most important pillars of a child's mental and physical foundation. In India, how many parents or educational institutions actually educate young teenagers about their bodies and the hormonal changes that occur in different stages of their lives.


Due to a lack of adequate knowledge accompanied by a curious mind of a young teenager, most of them feed their curiosity with information on this important subject from sources that may not always be very reliable. 60% of teenagers prefer to pornographic videos to satisfy their curiosity.


Without a formal sex education course, 1 out of 4 girls within the age range of 15-17 are susceptible to teen pregnancy. This would result in approximately 1700 babies being conceived each week.  However, 83% of teens don't receive any formal sex education before having sex for the first time. 


What Are The Basics Of Sex Education? 

Sexl education has different definitions for everyone. What one may conclude from this topic may not be the same as your perspective on this topic. Sex education is not about having different sexual relations that you may form in your life time with the any choice of gender you may have. Sex Education is about, gender identification, sexual orientation, sexual health, reproduction health, safe sex practice, birth control and relationships.


Moreover, Sex education also deals with issues which are widely controversial in our society yet necessary to be discussed. It broadens your horizon on homosexuality, emotional and physical relations, consent, sexual rights, sexual boundaries, abstinence from sex,  and your gender. 


Sex education is empowering people to unapologetically and completely be themselves, no matter which community they choose to be a part of. No matter which gender makes them feel more like themselves irrespective of the genitals they were born with. It is teaching your children to respect every human being and break the chains that stereotype sexuality. 


How Are Different Countries Across The Globe Using Sex Education To 

Vanquishing a teenager's knowledge of sexuality only leads to more unwanted horrors, which can scar them for a lifetime. We need to teach the younger generation that sexuality goes beyond sex. We need to assist them to make an informed decision. Sexuality goes way beyond confining it within a box and telling a person that our perspective of sexuality is ultimate. 

United Kingdom: In UK, sex and relationship is a mandatory subject for students above the age of 10. But more than often, this subject is thrown into the schedule as a last-minute lecture. They also give parents an option to restrict their kids from attending the lecture if they deem it to be inappropriate, which again adds to so many kids being removed from the class due to their parents' hesitation and therefore, not gaining adequate knowledge on this subject.


As curiosity comes into play again, the kids gravitate towards other unreliable sources for information. A survey carried out amongst students across the UK shows us that 73% of the students rely on Google for information. 65% of friends. 36% on their partner and 21% on social media. These sources of information can be highly misleading which could result in dangerous sexual practices without informed decision. 

As we can see from the study above, students across the UK engage in sexual practices. Though not incorrect but could lead to undesired consequences if not based on informed decision. 


China: For China, which is the most populated country in the world, you would expect the citizens of the country to have enough knowledge on how to conceive a baby. However, In a quite peculiar incident, a Chinese couple went viral for their unique approach to conceive by having intercourse in the wrong way due to lack of adequate information. 


This is a perfect example of inadequate sex education and the idiosyncrasy that improper knowledge can lead to. In the 80s, sex education finally became a compulsory subject. 


However, China is finally taking a step towards a positive change. A book was released by the Beijing Normal University to teach the students of elementary school about sexuality. This book called "Cherish life" received a lot of backlash and criticism terming the content of the book to be explicit and vulgar for children. 

However, many took a stand praising the book for the necessary information and for taking a step to educate children on sexuality. The book talks about homosexuality, sexual harassment, consent and gender equality. 


The Vatican: When Pope Francis took the initiative to amend the curriculum for Church sex education, conservative Christians were not happy with it. 


You would think that Pope Francis would rephrase the guidelines to resonate with the conservative Christian ideals, wouldn't you? However, it was quite the opposite. The orthodox Christians relayed their objection stating that the revised instructions did not let the parents be in-charge of how their children would be educated on the subject. The orthodox christians also opposed the guidelines of girls and boys receiving knowledge on this matter together and that the sex ed programme did not encourage abstinence only. 


Latin America: Latin America is considered to be a liberal place however, the ideology of liberalism is not very evident in the sex education program that the youth receives in the schools. It is only in Cuba that there is a compulsory sex education program. The concept of a comprehensive sex education is still being met with resistance due to the promotion of homosexuality. Those rejecting it claim that this is aimed to shatter the traditional structure of a family. 

Why Is Sex Education Important In India? 

India is a country which is beautiful and diverse in its cultures, traditions, and geography. On the flip side, India is now known as one of the most unsafe countries for women. Every day thousands of cases of sexual violence and unwanted pregnancies come to light. However, there may be thousands of cases that are not even reported due to the orthodox mindset of the people, who think that filing a complaint will only bring shame and disgrace. There are thousands of women who are subjected to such cruelty and brutal attacks every day.


In India, 8.2% of males within the age range of 15-19 have engaged in sexual intercourse while 1.1% have already engaged in it before the age of 15.

In the case of females, 17% are sexually active within the age range of 15-19 and 1.4% have already been active before the age of 15. 

According to the survey, 253 million adolescents in India don't have adequate knowledge of comprehensive sex education. Therefore, engaging in sexual activities based on misleading or incomplete information can lead to unwanted pregnancies and other dangerous illnesses like STD, HIV.


Up to the year 1990, India saw high rates of teenage pregnancy i. e, 1 in every 10 teenage girls got impregnated. This rate has decreased majorly over the last 3 decades and now stands at 2.3%, which means 1 in 43 teenage girls in the age group of 15-19 gets impregnated. 


However, the Modi government introduced the "Health and Wellness Curriculum" on the 12th of February. Even though this hasn't been directly labelled as sex education, it is a step towards creating awareness about puberty amongst school students. This curriculum talks about the safe usage of the internet and social media, reproductive health, prevention of HIV, and gender stereotypes. 


Sex education can save millions of lives. Providing sex education to children starting at a young age will not only create awareness but will also teach them the importance to respect a person's boundaries and consent. However, sex education in India is considered to be an immoral topic that goes against the principles and ethics of our society. 

How does sex education affect a young person's physical and mental well-being? 

Growing up, how many of us can say that we were imparted sex education and had the maturity to make an informed decision? Many parents and teachers are ashamed to even utter the word "sex" in front of the children. 


As years pass by and we come of age, our bodies start developing, we are faced with crucial life challenges like complex emotions, sexual urges, sexual preferences and relationships. However, most of us are confused and bewildered at the thought of going against the guidelines society lays down for our "sexuality".


But isn't it the society's responsibility to feed our minds with adequate sexual literacy to help us make responsible choices? Isn't it the parents and teachers' responsibility to educate each and every child under their care to grow up to be a responsible person who values and respects a person's body, free will and sexual orientation? 


It is high time we talk about gender identification & respect everyone for it . Discussing about "Sex" is nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone of us holds the right to respect your body and the right to be informed.