New Delhi, Oct 25: The Human Resource Development Ministry (HRD) of India has forbidden the word ‘sex’ from the sex education programme at school level and forced an expert panel to shorten its recommendations. The Ministry asked the panel to avoid use of words ‘sex’ and sexual’ in the document. As per the government, the word ‘sex’ in government document for framing policy on sex education for school students may offend people. Also Read - Boost to India's Air Power: 3 More Rafale Fighter Jets to Arrive in Ambala on November 5
According to a report in the Telegraph, when Smriti Irani headed the HRD Ministry, the original draft was submitted in May that mentioned the word “sexual” twice. However, The Telegraph reported that the the ministry has asked the expert panel to condense its recommendations on adolescent education to just one sentence because the original draft mentioned ‘sexual’ two times. Also Read - Puducherry Proposes 10% Quota For Government School Students in Medical Courses
The usage of the word ‘sex’ in India is considered to be a taboo and now it is the government that thinks on the same lines that the usage of ‘sex’ in sex education module for school students may not be liked by people. However, experts have urged upon more explicit education system which talks about sex more often to eradicate several issues. As per reports, the expert committee’s original draft contained half a page on adolescent education that mainly advocated more thorough lessons against unprotected sex but, the ministry raised objections during the last round of discussions. Also Read - India-US 2+2 Dialogue: Landmark Defence Pact BECA Signed, Pompeo Calls China a 'Threat' to Regional Security | Key Points
Apart from this, the draft addressed health of adolescents, particularly the reproductive and sexual health needs,” as they are deprived of appropriate information” due to its culturally ‘sensitive’ nature. This section on adolescent education has now been reduced to: “The Adolescent Education Programme and National Population Education Programme need to be extended to all schools as early as possible.”
A 2009 year report by Rajya Sabha committee, headed by senior BJP politician Venkaiah Naidu, had prohibited textbooks from depicting condoms or certain body parts. In its order of July 31, the ministry of communications and information and technology banned the 857 websites terming their content “immoral and indecent” under section 79(3)(b) of the IT Act 2000. Earlier, Dr Prakash Kothari, one of India’s leading sexologists based in Mumbai was quoted by IANS saying that banning porn websites is not the solution at all and educating the youth about what sex and related behaviours are must be on the agenda of the present government.
As previously reported, a new study revealed that sex education for youngsters should be much more than just about pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. It further added that there is an urgent need to explicitly focus on gender dynamics in sex education programming.
Reports also stated that the committee agreed with the HRD ministry’s advice because it thought that the word “sexual” might “offend” people. “We did not make it an issue because the policy’s focus was not on adolescent education: it’s a broad document on the entire subject of education,” the panel member was quoted by The Telegraph.
As per reports by India Today, what is new in the final document is it does use the word ‘sex’but only to say “all students, irrespective of caste, creed, location or sex would have access to education of a comparable quality up to a given level”. The 220-page final policy document was to be sent to the various state governments and school boards. The ministry has, however, declined to accept the recommendations, saying ‘they would be treated as inputs’.