Sex education: A socio-legal Analysis
By Devraj Agrawal
The author is a first-year student at MNLU Nagpur.
Sexuality is a manifestation of the normal response to sex. In human life, sex serves two functions: procreation and leisure. Individuals have failed to fulfil both of these responsibilities. Unwanted pregnancies, unwanted moms, and adolescent pregnancies are all prevalent occurrences in today’s culture. The recreational role is also not being fully used. HIV/AIDS is an indication of many types of deviant sexual behaviour as well as a rise in the incidence of STDs. Furthermore, the number of instances at the family level has increased. Courts and family counselling centers are indicators of weakening family connections. The lack of sex education or family life education is one of the major reasons why sexual roles and the role of sex have not been fruitful in the Indian situation. Adolescent reproductive and sexual health needs in India have received insufficient attention from all directions – the state, society, and the school Individuals and a few schools are involved putting in some effort, but it’s only a drop in the ocean
It is imperative that sex education be provided to growing children—the adults of tomorrow. In general, parents and teachers are concerned that sex education will lead to inappropriate sexual behaviour. On the other hand, wherever sex education is offered, since it has been taken seriously, it has grown by leaps and bounds. There are two factors at work here in these locations, sex education is provided. Its goal is to increase human knowledge of sex as well as to promote human knowledge of sex functions, a comprehension of emotions, challenges, and responsibilities Relationships between the sexes are intertwined. Personalization is emphasised in sex education development that promotes emotional maturity and prepares children for family life. As a result, sex education not only has its own content but is also touched on in many other subjects taught in schools. Adolescents in the modern (Post-modern) era have psycho-socio-sexual, issues that must be addressed immediately. Adolescent development is influenced by biological, psychological, and social aspects of growth. Other environmental factors, such as the family’s attitudes and values, as well as the peer group, contribute to the personality development of adolescents in a positive or negative way. Adolescence is marked by various levels of adjustment issues – with oneself, with peers of the same and opposite sex, with elders, including parents, and with society. Similarly, it has been discovered that ignorance causes adjustment difficulties. When ignorance is combined with the adolescent stage, the problems of everyone involved (children, parents, teachers, etc.) are exacerbated. This will result in disorganisation, not only of individuals, but also of groups and communities. Many of the problems that exist in today’s world can be addressed by providing proper orientation and education to the affected group. Adolescents, too, require a holistic education that includes sex education.
1.2 AIM AND OBJECTIVE
The importance of sex education, as well as the reality of students’ lack of knowledge about human sexuality and the sexual abuse they are subjected to. Sexual development is a natural process, but the young adolescent is not provided the necessary scientific knowledge to better understand human sexuality. Children get their information about sex and related matters from untrustworthy sources. As a result, it is critical to provide scientific and accurate information. The information gathered as a consequence of this study covers the students’ understanding of human sexuality.
- To understand the exact meaning and importance of Sex education.
- To study the perspective of society towards sex education.
- To analyse the curriculum of sex education.
- To get the idea of how can we impart sex education to youth
- To study recent development, implementation, and legal aspects.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- Why there is a need to impart sex education among adolescents?
- How lack of information or incorrect information be harmful?
- Who holds the responsibility to provide an authentic source for sexual studies?
- What are the ways of implementation?
1.4 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
In this research report, the doctrinal technique of research was applied to approach the aforementioned subject. It is source-based research that draws its content from both classic and current written text sources such as books, journals, and e-resources. This method is both analytical and descriptive in nature. The researcher has worked hard to critically investigate all sources in order to present an informative and perceptive analysis. Opinions of research researchers, academicians, and other specialists who have dealt with this subject have been incorporated as a genuine contribution to this study.
1.5 LITERATURE REVIEW
Sex education is one of the topics which has been ignored in academics of students not only in India but worldwide. Never satisfactory source has been provided to students to let them know about one of an important part of life. Many scholars, researchers have studied the problem globally and tried to give some satisfactory methods to reduce the taboo of sex education. This research paper is trying to discuss the same and make people aware importance of the topic not only awareness this paper provides a plan shared by a researcher for improvement of sex education with complete socio-legal analysis
2. THEORETICAL ASPECT
2.1 MEANING OF SEX EDUCATION
- Most individuals believe that sex education teaches them about how a kid is born. In truth, sex education encompasses all educational methods that, in some way, educate young people to face life’s challenges that are centered on the sex urge. According to the American School Health Association, ‘sex education should be differentiated from sex knowledge and is best defined as character education’ (1967). It is made up of lessons meant to assist students to comprehend the physical, mental, emotional, social, economic, and psychological aspects of human interactions as they are impacted by male and female partnerships. It includes more than simply anatomical and reproductive facts, and it focuses on attitude development and sex association advice. It implies that a man’s sexuality is incorporated into his daily life as a source of health and creative energy.
- According to recognized ethical norms, sex education stands for the family’s protection, preservation, extension, enhancement, and development. It entails more than merely studying sex or reproduction as a biological or physiological reality. It seeks to give complete and progressive knowledge on the care, guidance, and development processes, as well as information on human sexuality. It is focused on personality and character development issues. The whole process of imparting sex education is geared at producing children who are well educated about sexuality; children who will go on to become responsible functional adults in the family and in society as a whole.
- The goal of sex education is to develop a positive perspective and to highlight the wide possibilities for human fulfillment that sexuality affords. It should not aim to restrict or inhibit sexual expression in youngsters by creating bad sentiments and odd perceptions about sexuality in them.
The preceding explanation demonstrates the vast scope of sex education. However, one must be realistic about the limitations of sex education. It should not be assumed or expected that providing sex education will eliminate all of the social evils associated with sexuality that exist in today’s society. To combat immoral and sexually deviant behaviour, society as a whole must intervene, and sex education will undoubtedly play a role. Sex education will help, but it will not result in significant changes.
2.2 WHAT’S THE NEED FOR SEX EDUCATION
The primary goal of sex education is to ensure that children receive accurate information about their sexuality. Some adult groups see sex education as a form of control. According to Dr. Lester A Kirkendall, a pioneer in sex education in the United States, “the purpose of sex education is not primarily to control and suppress sex expression, as in the past, but to indicate the enormous possibilities for human fulfillment that human sexuality offers.” However, this is not the approach taken by many parents and educators. Their goal in providing sex education is to reduce students’ sexual activities. Their hidden agenda is to get students to conform of what parents and teachers perceive as morally acceptable behaviour. Kilander (1970) lists a few of the major sex problems as reasons for imparting sex education. They are:
- Many people, especially youth, need hygiene or health knowledge concerning sexual processes as they affect their personal health.
- There is a general misunderstanding of sexual life as related to health and happy marriages.
- There are thousands of unmarried mothers and their illegitimate children living today – the result of common sexual irresponsibility and ignorance of men and women.
- There is the matter of a lack of sexual identity today concerning femininity and masculinity with its implications.
- Children get knowledge about sex and related topics from films and cheap books. But they may not get the right knowledge and the knowledge will also be incomplete.
- The increase in the spread of STDs and AIDS and the high rate of adolescent pregnancies is another major issue, which calls for imparting sex education without any delay.
The debate is not just on whether sex education should be given or not Even when it is accepted that sex education is to be given, questions like, how it is to be given, when, by whom, how much is to be given, etc., need to be dealt with.
2.3 WHO SHALL PROVIDE SEX EDUCATION TO STUDENTS
Every adult in society bears the responsibility of involving children in the education of human sexuality. Parents have a role to play at home as well. Teachers play an important role at school. Teachers believe that parental involvement in sex education is essential. Those who are solely responsible for initiating sex education may require guidance and encouragement in order to provide their children with that aspect of sex education that is the home’s special responsibility. Some people are in favour of providing sex education in post-primary schools. Studies indicate that generally, parents are being uncomfortable talking to their kids about Human Sexuality. It’s the equal responsibility of parents and teachers but the general notion is that teachers have to play a prominent role in imparting sex education. Some schools, like some countries, have only just begun to address sex education. “In India, sex education is not only lacking at the school and college levels but is a grossly neglected aspect even in the curriculum of medical institutions,” says sexologist Dr. Frakash Kothari. Every individual in society bears a responsibility to the other in terms of providing opportunities for learning. Some would be directly imparting knowledge, while others would be providing support. As previously stated, teaching and learning about sex education begin at a very young age. Following that, various individuals must be involved in providing sex education to children. Though various professionals can provide sex education, parents and teachers bear the primary responsibility. To begin it’s the parents’ role but as children start going to school, teachers have equal responsibility of giving sex education.
2.4 HOW SEX EDUCATION SHOULD BE GIVEN: WAYS AND TECHNIQUES
There are two questions about how sex education should be provided. One is the teacher’s attitude toward the subject, and the other is the teaching aids to be used. An educator’s embarrassment and fear will only have a negative impact on the sex education program. An educator with a prejudiced/biased mind would only undermine the efforts made to plan the course, build community support, and so on. So, in addition to knowledge, the person imparting sex education should have a positive attitude and be willing to help. The teaching aids and/or materials used to impart sex education are an important aspect of how sex education is to be delivered. Modern audio-visual aids are used to supplement the traditional method of lecturing in all aspects of knowledge transfer. In sex education, teaching aids and materials are more important because the line between them being teaching tools and pornographic material is very thin. Though there is often agreement on the need for sex education, there are differences of opinion on what and how to impart it. The various techniques that could be used can be classified as:
- Direct teaching/Lecturing- The lecture approach is one of the earliest methods of teaching. Though some people believe lecturing to be outmoded in this day of the ‘Net’ and ‘online instructions,’ it is still a useful tool. Reaching out to a wide audience is easier, especially if the audience is receptive. This type of education would be best handled by an experienced educator with strong communication skills.
- Discussion of Case Studies- Case studies that have been researched or that have come up at the school social worker or counselor’s office are effective resources for conveying knowledge and stimulating conversation. It is also a useful method for assisting pupils in developing self-confidence in interpersonal relationships and gaining insight into the behaviour of others. The instances frequently center on the preconceptions, attitudes, and sentiments of persons who find themselves in difficult circumstances.
- Providing literature- Various genres of literature can be utilised to provide sexual information. Books (fiction and nonfiction), periodicals and newspaper articles, short stories, and other educational tools are useful. Literature, which includes stories, allows youngsters to identify with the diverse characters described. It lessens the child’s fear of growing up.
- Individual Discussions- Individual sharing and discussion have enormous potential as a strategy for educating a child. This is especially true if the child is experiencing personal difficulties. The issue could be due to ignorance or something else. Helping the child overcome the problem will instill in him a positive attitude toward all elements of life. It is important to understand that the educator’s function with this tool is slightly different. He or she must learn to be ‘helpful.’ This entails comprehending the idea underlying the process of assisting an individual through counselling.
- Group Discussions- A group conversation can help to improve this realisation. Identification with others who are dealing with the same or comparable issues, as well as knowing how others are dealing with them, assists youngsters in confronting the issue or problem they are experiencing head-on. Group discussions also aid in the open discussion of delicate and ethical problems.
- Use of Audio-Visuals- Audio-Visuals is a powerful tool for generating open talks. Individuals are naturally averse to self-analysis and talks of deep personal feelings. However, when such topics are brought to the forefront in audio-visuals, a general openness is created. This encourages people to express their difficulties and feelings.
IMPLEMENTATION AND CHALLENGES
3.1 CURRICULUM OF SEX EDUCATION
There is a great deal of disagreement about what should be included in the Sex education curriculum Where sex education is taken seriously, the curriculum has been expanded to include delicate issues such as sexual deviant behaviour, sexual abuse, contraception, and so on. One of the primary reasons that sex education is not widely implemented in schools is a lack of understanding about what should be taught. There is always a tug of war between moralists and liberals. The curriculum for sexual education must be meticulously planned. Teachers and parents play critical roles in the monitoring and mentoring of pupils as they grow into adults. Understanding what parents and teachers believe sex education should include is critical. If an attempt is made to grasp the opinions of these key persons, then it will be easier to execute this curriculum of sex education in schools. The opposition from these places would be lessened even further. Though not much groundwork has been done in India to establish approaches, strategies, or procedures, a lot of work has been going on in Western countries since the late ’70s and African countries since the ’80s. Paul Gebhard of Indiana University’s Institute for Sex Research in Bloomington discussed attitudinal preparation for human sexuality teachers, suggested course content, and the right sequence of topics as early as 1975. He proposed that the primary motivation for giving such a course should be a desire to transmit correct knowledge in an immoral manner. He goes on to say that general information should consist of:
- Mammalian sexual behaviour
- Sexual psychology
- Cross-cultural perspective.
There is some debate concerning the boundaries that should be placed on the content of sex education. Wherever sex education has been taken seriously in the past, the content has grown steadily. They now include prostitution, STDs, homosexuality, and abortion. However, some people are still skeptical about the discrimination of contraceptive information, fearing that knowledge may increase promiscuity. Concerning sex education content in general, it can be divided in 4 main area
- Information about facts of life.
- Direct consideration of sex as aspect of personal life and responsibility.
- Insights into human emotions arid relationships.
- The facilitation of group conversations and individual counselling Considering personal security issues and ties with the different sex
While parents are the primary caregivers for family life and sex education, the school cannot shirk its responsibilities in this area. Family life and sex education should be incorporated as a planned component of the normal curriculum, and the sociological and psychological components of sex education, as well as the biological processes of maturation and reproduction, should be recognised. From kindergarten to grade 12, a sequential, planned program with clearly defined objectives is required if we are to give students a solid foundation for making logical judgements about human interaction. Extreme caution must be exercised when developing a sex education curriculum. Sex education curriculum development should take the same approach as any other subject taught in schools. In the same way that there is consistency in the disciplines taught, there is also continuity in sex education. There must be a progressive learning experience for the various age groups for them to internalise what is taught. As the child’s knowledge grows, so should the presentation style and input.
Sex education, to gain credibility as a topic of learning in schools, should make use of the most recent research findings and visions that have been developed to make instruction more successful. Students are expected to participate actively in the learning process. They are encouraged to engage in debates and to critically examine and comprehend the material provided to them. The same approach is required for sex education.
3.2 ATTITUDE TOWARDS SEX EDUCATION
The attitudes of parents, educators, and students were combined and analysed. This was done to better understand the inter-group relationship and to see if there was any statistical difference between the group’s attitude ratings. The following is a diagrammatic representation of the attitude scores.
All categories of respondents (students, instructors, and parents) have a moderate attitude toward providing sex education to adolescents in schools. There is no statistically significant difference between the attitude scores of kids, teachers, and parents in the combined group. All file groups have a moderately positive attitude, and the ANOVA revealed that no two groups differ in their attitude toward sex education in schools. The pupils’ attitude scores are not greater than those of the parents’ and teachers’ groups.
3.3 LEGAL ASPECT
3.3.1 HOW TO COMBAT RISING SEXUAL ABUSE AND VIOLENCE
Sexual abuse, aggression, and physical abuse are on the rise in adolescence, and they are increasingly co-occurring with substance dependence. According to research on child abuse in India performed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, 53% of males and 47% of girls surveyed experienced some sort of sexual abuse. As a result, FLE may assist vulnerable young people in being more conscious of their sexual rights and empowering them to protect themselves from any unwanted act of violence, sexual abuse, or molestation. Nari Raksha Samiti, a non-governmental group (NGO), proposed that sex education in school curricula could help address the surge in rape cases in India. Rape culture among Adolescents has been increased rapidly these need to be addressed and stopped This can be accomplished through educating people about sex and drugs, as well as teaching them how to utilise ethical and moral principles to guide their conduct, to reduce ambiguity and the formation of thoughtless, unhealthy, and potentially deadly attitudes. In 2013, the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC, WHO) issued guidelines on the rights of children and adolescents, as well as guidelines on states’ responsibility to acknowledge the specific health and development requirements, as well as the rights of adolescents and young people. This was expanded upon in 2014 WHO report titled “Health for the World’s Adolescents.” To follow these criteria when offering sex education, the knowledge of healthcare experts becomes essential in teaching not only the students but also the teachers who teach them.
3.3.2 A HUMAN RIGHTS PERSPECTIVE
Sexuality education is regarded as a fundamental human right that falls under the umbrella term “reproductive rights,” as emphasised by reputable non-governmental organisations such as the Family Planning Association of India, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS). Statement 10 – The right to education and the right to comprehensive sexuality education – of the most recent amendment to the WAS Declaration of Sexual Rights (2014) underlines the importance of everyone having the right to education and comprehensive sexuality education. Comprehensive sexuality education must be age-appropriate, scientifically accurate, culturally competent, and based on human rights, gender equality, and a positive approach to sexuality and pleasure on the basis that sex education affects general health, adaptation to the environment, quality of life, and the ability to live optimally by choice. As a signatory to the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994, India is obligated to provide free and compulsory comprehensive sexuality education for adolescents and young people as part of the ICPD agenda. According to the United Nations Human Rights Council Report, failing to provide sex education breaches the human rights of Indian adolescents and young people as recognized by international law.
The current existing program of sexual education incorporated into the Indian curriculum is known as adolescent FLE, and it was proposed by the National AIDS Control Organization and the Ministry of Human Resources and Development specifically. The program includes, but is not limited to, the following topics: human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, reproductive health, reproductive rights and responsibilities.
The study’s main goal was to discover the attitudes of parents, teachers, and students toward sex education in schools. A model sex education program was to be created as a consequence. The current state of sex education in schools, as well as who, according to the respondents, is the best person to impart sex education in schools, were also issues that were hoped to be investigated. The conclusions reached based on this research are stated in this section. The studies that support or refute the conclusions are also cited.
The grounds for reaching the results are also briefly given.
- Parents, instructors, and students all support the implementation of sex education in schools. The majority of studies in the field of sex education have also emphasised the importance of sex education being taught in schools.
- According to the findings of the current study, the majority of pupils are unaware of human sexuality. The reason for this is that schools do not teach sex education. Furthermore, because Indian society is predominantly conservative, parents do not teach their children about sex. Most of them relied solely on ‘friends’ for information.
- The majority of people did not acquire any sex education as children. Sex education was not taught in schools. It was not even listed in the medical course curriculum. The majority of schools do not teach sex education other than the human reproductive system, which is covered in biology textbooks.
- Parents and instructors are concerned about the impact of providing information on value-laden topics such as contraception, homosexuality, and heterosexuality. Researchers discovered that, while administrators, parents, and instructors were all in favour of providing sex education, they did not want abortions to be included in the curriculum. The survey discovered that, while the majority of parents used permanent or non-permanent contraception, few of them had informed their adult children about it.
- Different tools to combat rising sexual abuse and violence, protection of human rights have been implemented worldwide and sex education has improved the situation still many challenges need to be overcome.
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