Sex education is possibly one of the most talked-about topics nowadays, especially among concerned citizens and the government. Sex is a natural thing for all of us and it is just right for the researchers as well as the readers to know and learn more about it. But the question is, is it right for sex education to be taught in primary schools?
This research paper tackles the different issues about sex education. It contains the pros and cons of teaching sex education in primary schools. Opinions from different sides such as teachers in primary and secondary schools are considered. With such divisions, the reader can approximate their own comprehension of the topic and thus contribute ways to assist the primary students regarding this matter.
In this research paper, the researchers would like to show the readers the importance of teachers’ perception on teaching sex education in primary schools. The researchers are convinced that this paper will be of great value to students and teachers.
Statement of the Problem
The study aimed to find out the teachers’ view on teaching sex education in primary schools.
What is the general profile of the respondents in terms of:
What are the teachers’ views of teaching sex education in primary schools?
What are the issues/concerns of teachers in the teaching of sex education primary schools?
Is there a significant difference on how the teachers view the teaching of sex education when compared by primary and secondary schools?
There is no significant difference between the perspectives of the teachers from primary and secondary schools.
Assumptions of the Study
The researchers assume that the questionnaires distributed to the respondents are answered honestly and truthfully, and that all data that will be gathered is reliable to the study. The researchers also assume that the personal values may affect the respondent’s reaction to the questions given and personal experiences may influence the response to the question.
The study will be conducted in Southville International School and Colleges located at 1281 Tropical Ave. cor. Luxembourg St., BF International, Las Pinas City, Philippines. The school will be the focus of the study because it is more convenient to the researchers, it has a big population and it is suited for the study.
Significance of the study
Parents: They will be guided on making the decision of letting their children study sex education in the school where their children are studying.
Students: They will have an idea about what they can get from learning sex education. They will be aware that the very heart of this issue is for their future.
Scope and Limitations:
The research focused on the perceptions of the teachers towards teaching sex education in primary schools. The respondents are the teachers in primary and secondary level of school year 2010-2011, from Southville International School and Colleges.
Definition of Terms
Curricula- are the courses offered by an educational institution. It is also a set of courses constituting an area of specialization.
Mandatory- can also be compulsory the teaching of sex education is obligatory.
Optional- the teaching of sex education for young people is not compulsory.
Perception- is a result of perceiving, observation, a mental image, or concept.
Primary school- includes grades one to six.
Secondary school- a school usually including years 7 to 10.
Sexuality- is an expression of sexual receptivity or interest especially when excessive.
Sex wise- it is a 12 part series which discussed sex education, family life education, contraception, family life education, contraception and parenting.
Sex Education- is an education about human sexual anatomy, reproduction, and intercourse and other human sexual behaviour.
Young people- are also referred to as teenagers or children ages between to 10 to 12.
Review of Related Literature
It is sometimes called sexuality education or sex and relationships education, is the process of acquiring information and forming attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual identity, relationships and intimacy. Sex education is also about developing young people’s skills so that they make informed choices about their behavior, and feel confident and competent about acting on these choices. It is widely accepted that young people have a right to sex education. This is because it is a means by which they are helped to protect themselves against abuse, exploitation, unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV and AIDS. It is also argued that providing sex education helps to meet young people’s rights to information about matters that affect them, their right to have their needs met and to help them enjoy their sexuality and the relationships that they form.
It aims to reduce the risks of potentially negative outcomes from sexual behavior, such as unwanted or unplanned pregnancies and infection with sexually transmitted diseases including HIV. It also aims to contribute to young people’s positive experience of their sexuality by enhancing the quality of their relationships and their ability to make informed decisions over their lifetime. Sex education that works, by which we mean that it is effective is sex education that contributes to both these aims thus helping young people to be safe and enjoy their sexuality. (http://www.avert.org/sex-education.htm, 2010)
Young people can be exposed to a wide range of attitudes and beliefs in relation to sex and sexuality. These sometimes appear contradictory and confusing. For example, some health messages emphasize the risks and dangers associated with sexual activity and some media coverage promotes the idea that being sexually active makes a person more attractive and mature. Because sex and sexuality are sensitive subjects, young people and sex educators can have strong views on what attitudes people should hold, and what moral framework should govern people’s behavior – these too can sometimes seem to be at odds. Young people are very interested in the moral and cultural frameworks that bind sex and sexuality. They often welcome opportunities to talk about issues where people have strong views, like abortion, sex before marriage, lesbian and gay issues and contraception and birth control. It is important to remember that talking in a balanced way about differences in opinion does not promote one set of views over another, or mean that one agrees with a particular view. Part of exploring and understanding cultural, religious and moral views is finding out that you can agree to disagree.
Effective sex education also provides young people with an opportunity to explore the reasons why people have sex, and to think about how it involves emotions, respect for one self and other people and their feelings, decisions and bodies. Young people should have the chance to explore gender differences and how ethnicity and sexuality can influence people’s feelings and options. They should be able to decide for themselves what the positive qualities of relationships are. It is important that they understand how bullying, stereotyping, abuse and exploitation can negatively influence relationships. . (As also stated at the website: http://www.avert.org/sex-education.htm, 2010)
Sex education worldwide
Sex education in Africa has focused on stemming the growing AIDS epidemic. Most governments in the region have established AIDS education programs in partnership with the World Health Organization and international NGOs. These programs were undercut significantly by the Global Gag Rule, an initiative put in place by President Reagan, suspended by President Clinton, and re-instated by President Bush. The Global Gag Rule “…required nongovernmental organizations to agree as a condition of their receipt of Federal funds that such organizations would neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.” The Global Gag Rule was again suspended as one of the first official acts by United States President Barack Obama. The incidences of new HIV transmissions in Uganda decreased dramatically when Clinton supported a comprehensive sex education approach (including information about contraception and abortion). According to Ugandan AIDS activists, the Global Gag Rule undermined community efforts to reduce HIV prevalence and HIV transmission.
In Filand, sexual education is usually incorporated into various obligatory courses, mainly as part of biology lessons (in lower grades) and later in a course related to general health issues. The Population and Family Welfare Federation provide all 15-year-olds an introductory sexual package that includes an information brochure, a condom and a cartoon love story.
England and Wales
In England and Wales, sex education is not compulsory in schools as parents can refuse to let their children take part in the lessons. The curriculum focuses on the reproductive system, fetal development, and the physical and emotional changes of adolescence, while information about contraception and safe sex is discretionary and discussion about relationships is often neglected. Britain has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe and sex education is a heated issue in government and media reports. In a 2000 study by the University of Brighton, many 14 to 15 year olds reported disappointment with the content of sex education lessons and felt that lack of confidentiality prevents teenagers from asking teachers about contraception.
In France, sex education has been part of school curricula since 1973. Schools are expected to provide 30 to 40 hours of sex education, and pass out condoms, to students in grades eight and nine. In January 2000, the French government launched an information campaign on contraception with TV and radio spots and the distribution of five million leaflets on contraception to high school students.
In Germany, sex education has been part of school curricula since 1970. Since 1992 sex education is by law a governmental duty.
It normally covers all subjects concerning the growing-up process, body changes during puberty, emotions, the biological process of reproduction, sexual activity, partnership, homosexuality, unwanted pregnancies and the complications of abortion, the dangers of sexual violence, child abuse, and sex-transmitted diseases, but sometimes also things like sex positions. Most schools offer courses on the correct usage of contraception.
A sex survey by the World Health Organization concerning the habits of European teenagers in 2006 revealed that German teenagers care about contraception. The birth rate among 15- to 19-year-olds was very low – only 11.7 per 1000 population, compared to the UK’s 27.8 births per 1,000 population, and-in first place-Bulgaria’s 39.0 births per 1,000.
In the Western point of view, sex education in Poland has never actually developed. At the time of the People’s Republic of Poland, since 1973, it was one of the school subjects; however, it was relatively poor and did not achieve any actual success. After 1989, it practically vanished from the school life – it is currently an exclusive subject (called wychowanie do A?ycia w rodzinie/family life education rather than edukacja seksualna/sex education) in several schools their parents must give consent to the headmasters so their children may attend. It has much due to the strong objection against sex education of the Catholic Church; the most influential institution in Poland.
It has, however, been changed and since September 2009 sex education will become an obligatory subject in the number of 14 per school year – unless parents do not want their children to be taught. Objecting parents will have to write special disagreements.
Almost all U.S. students receive some form of sex education at least once between grades 7 and 12; many schools begin addressing some topics as early as grades 5 or 6. However, what students learn varies widely, because curriculum decisions are so decentralized. Many states have laws governing what is taught in sex education classes or allowing parents to opt out. Some state laws leave curriculum decisions to individual school districts.
Two main forms of sex education are taught in American schools: comprehensive and abstinence-only. Comprehensive sex education covers abstinence as a positive choice, but also teaches about contraception and avoidance of STIs when sexually active. A 2002 study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 58% of secondary school principals describe their sex education curriculum as comprehensive.
Abstinence-only sex education tells teenagers that they should be sexually abstinent until marriage and does not provide information about contraception. In the Kaiser study, 34% of high-school principals said their school’s main message was abstinence-only.
The difference between these two approaches, and their impact on teen behavior, remains a controversial subject. In the U.S., teenage birth rates had been dropping since 1991, but a 2007 report showed a 3% increase from 2005 to 2006. From 1991 to 2005, the percentage of teens reporting that they had ever had sex or were currently sexually active showed small declines. However, the U.S. still has the highest teen birth rate and one of the highest rates of STIs among teens in the industrialized world. Public opinion polls conducted over the years have found that the vast majority of Americans favor broader sex education programs over those that teach only abstinence, although abstinence educators recently published poll data with the opposite conclusion.
On the other hand, proponents of abstinence-only sex education object to curricula that fail to teach their standard of moral behavior; they maintain that a morality based on sex only within the bounds of marriage is “healthy and constructive” and that value-free knowledge of the body may lead to immoral, unhealthy, and harmful practices. Within the last decade, the federal government has encouraged abstinence-only education by steering over a billion dollars to such programs. Some 25 states now decline the funding so that they can continue to teach comprehensive sex education. Funding for one of the federal government’s two main abstinency-only funding programs, Title V, was extended only until December 31, 2007; Congress is debating whether to continue it past that date.
The impact of the rise in abstinence-only education remains a question. To date, no published studies of abstinence-only programs have found consistent and significant program effects on delaying the onset of intercourse. In 2007, a study ordered by the U.S. Congress found that middle school students who took part in abstinence-only sex education programs were just as likely to have sex (and use contraception) in their teenage years as those who did not. Abstinence-only advocates claimed that the study was flawed because it was too narrow and began when abstinence-only curricula were in their infancy, and that other studies have demonstrated positive effects.
According to a 2007 report, Teen pregnancies in the United States showed 3% increase in the teen birth rate from 2005 to 2006, to nearly 42 births per 1,000.
Virginia uses the sex education program called, The National Campaign to prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy. The National Campaign was created in 1996. The program focuses on preventing teen and unplanned pregnancies of young adults. The National campaign set a goal to reduce teen pregnancy rate by 1/3 in 10 years. The Virginia Department of Health ranked Virginia 19th in teen pregnancy birth rates in 1996. Virginia was also rated 35.2 teen births per 1000 girls aged 15-19 in 2006. The Healthy people 2010 goal is a teen pregnancy rate at or below 43 pregnancies per 1000 females age 15-17.
The state of sex education programs in Asia is at various stages of development. Indonesia, Mongolia, South Korea have a systematic policy framework for teaching about sex within schools. Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand have assessed adolescent reproductive health needs with a view to developing adolescent-specific training, messages and materials. India has programs aimed at children aged nine to sixteen years. In India, there is a huge debate on the curriculum of sex education and whether it should be increased. Attempts by state governments to introduce sex education as a compulsory part of the curriculum have often been met with harsh criticism by political parties, who claim that sex education “is against Indian culture” and would mislead children. (Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan have no coordinated sex education programs.)
In Japan, sex education is mandatory from age 10 or 11, mainly covering biological topics such as menstruation and ejaculation.
In China and Sri Lanka, sex education traditionally consists of reading the reproduction section of biology textbooks. In Sri Lanka they teach the children when they are 17-18 years. However, in 2000 a new five-year project was introduced by the China Family Planning Association to “promote reproductive health education among Chinese teenagers and unmarried youth” in twelve urban districts and three counties. This included discussion about sex within human relationships as well as pregnancy and HIV prevention.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation and the BBC World Service ran a 12-part series known as Sexwise, which discussed sex education, family life education, contraception and parenting. It was first launched in South Asia and then extended worldwide.
Acrimonious Debate over Sex Education in the Philippines
The educational module “Adolescent Sexual Health,” though not yet released to all high schools in the Philippines, has already drawn heavy criticism from the Roman Catholic Church, pro-life activists, and some parents.
“The way it is being taught lacks the reverence, the refinement that the subject matter demands,” said Jo Imbong, legal officer of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. Deciding when to teach children about sex should be left to their parents, he said.
But Professor Corazon Raymundo, director of the University of the Philippines’ Population Institute (UPPI), said sex education in schools is necessary because it is not in the nation’s culture for parents to discuss sex with their children.
The education department, which presented the module as a response to the nation’s booming population growth, emphasized it is not a sex manual but rather a teaching guide dealing with family planning, reproductive health, and the dangers of early and pre-marital sex. According to a UPPI survey, 23 percent of Filipinos ages 15-24 engaged in pre-marital sex in 2002, up from 18 percent in 1994. The prevalence of high-risk sexual behaviors among adolescents rose from 20 percent in 1994 to 27 percent in 2002. Further, this age group now accounts for 17 percent of all induced abortions in the nation.
“It’s high time that the ignorance of adolescents be addressed in a way that will allow them to make an informed choice,” said Solita Monsod, former economic planning secretary.
Now, however, education officials have responded to the criticism by withdrawing the module “for further communications among stakeholders.” Before it is returned to schools, some sections will be revised, said Lolita Andrada, the module’s editor and the director of the Bureau of Secondary Education. In particular, the section on safe sex, which some viewed as a promotion of promiscuity, will be rewritten, Andrada said. (http://www.thebody.com/content/news/art23803.html, 2010)
Dep.Ed. sued over sex education plan
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – The former legal officer of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines on Monday sued the Department of Education for incorporating sex education in the curriculum of elementary and high school students.
In an interview, lawyer Jo Aurea Imbong said she filed the case in behalf of 30 concerned parents who opposed the sex education plan. She described the sex education program as a form of “contraceptive imperialism” that assaults moral sensibilities and values of young people and actually encourages sexual promiscuity.
“We have examined the modules being used by DepEd and found that it promotes family planning, reproductive health and demographic development in subjects such as Mathematics, Science and English. It is specifically designed to transform the attitudes, behavior and social norms of young people based on a foreign model,” she told abs-cbnNEWS.com.
Imbong said the class suit aims to stop DepEd from implementing Memorandum No. 26, which integrates sex education in the curriculum for private and public schools. She said the program changes the attitudes and values of children especially in Christian families.
Imbong said sex education was already being implemented in the basic education curriculum 12 years ago, and the new DepEd memo only updates the modules.
She said adopting the sex education plan will fast-track moral decay among young people who are exposed to sex at an early age. “While curiosity is normal for young people, it is still the primary responsibility of the parents and families to inform their children about sex,” she said.
She also noted that the sex education program is receiving funding from the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA).
In response, Education Secretary Mona Valisno said the sex education program is still being pilot-tested and that the discussions will focus on the science of reproduction, physical care and hygiene, correct values and the norms of interpersonal relations to avoid premarital sex and teenage pregnancy.
She said the Deped consulted different sectors about the program including the CBCP and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas. She said parents who were consulted about the program were very happy with it especially since it provides relevant information to children.
She also questioned why a court case was filed especially since the program does not contradict the mandate of DepEd to protect children’s rights to quality education.
“Our curriculum doesn’t talk about condoms and such. It’s only exposure to the children to the right information in order for them to make the right decision…Kung hindi natin kailangan, then the new secretary of education can change it,” she told ANC.
She said the sex education plan seeks to battle the high percentage of unwarranted pregnancies in the country, which is one of the 10 highest in the world, and prevent dropouts as a result of teenage pregnancies.
She said the topics integrated into the modules will be scientific and informative and are not designed to titillate prurient interest.
In Science, sex education topics will cover the reproductive system, parts of the body, reproductive cycle, and puberty.
Under Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan (EPP), proper behavior among and between peers of different genders will be discussed.
In Health classes under MAPEH (Music, Arts, PE and Health), personal hygiene and reproductive health will be part of the lessons.
In Heograpiya, Kasaysayan, at Sibika (HEKASI) classes, discussion will include the position of religion on premarital sex and the norms when people of opposite sex interact.
In Math classes, data on issues like premarital sex, teenage pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections will be used in studying mathematical analysis and statistics. (Dizon, 2010)