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India needs comprehensive sexuality education

  • Published
    29th Aug, 2023

Context:

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 51,863 cases were reported under The Protection of Children from Sexual O?ences Act in 2021; of them, 33,348 or 64% were of sexual assault. There is a need to educate people related to sexual offences.

Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE)

  • Curriculum­ based process of teaching- It is a curriculum­ based process of teaching and learning about the cognitive, emotional, physical and social aspects of sexuality.
  • Fundamental human rights- As the UN Population Fund says, “the right of access to comprehensive sexuality education is grounded in fundamental human rights and it empowers young people to protect their health, well­being and dignity”
  • Starting Age- The UN global guidance recommends starting comprehensive sexuality education from the age of five along with formal education.

 Impact of CSE

  • Better informed- As per World Health Organization, with comprehensive sexuality education, young people will be better informed of their rights and sexuality, and will be more likely to engage in sexual activity later.
  • Necessary for both students and teachers- NCRB data show that it is necessary for schools to impart comprehensive sexuality education not only to children, but also to parents and caregivers.
  • Important to maintain healthy relationships- CSE is important not only to learn about violation and abuse, but also to maintain healthy relationships

Way Forward

  • Sound Monitoring- Ensure that the CSE programmes include sound monitoring and evaluation components, with due consideration to inequality, gender norms, power in intimate relationships.
  • Curriculum is holistic- With the relationship between sexual health and human rights being complex, non­linear and interrelated, it is hoped that the curriculum is holistic and not simply related to legalities.
  • Teacher training is crucial- The UNESCO 2021 Global Status Report says that capacity­ building of teachers is critical as the curriculum requires non-­intuitive participatory pedagogies.
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