SEX EDUCATION: Teenagers need safe outlet to explore subject

14 November 2012 | last updated at 07:39AM

By Iza Zakhizuin Zaki, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Shah Alam, Selangor | letters@nstp.com.my 0 comments

THE issue of incorporating sex education in school has surfaced once again after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak stated in the Dewan Rakyat recently that 6,820 girls aged below 16 had given birth out of wedlock in the past 10 years.

.Explaining what will be taught in sex education classes will sex education is to be done can be a huge help gain in getting the public’s trust on the issue.

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One suggested course of action to combat teen pregnancies was introducing sex education into the core syllabus of Year Six and Form Three students.

I would like to acknowledge that the problems surrounding teen pregnancies stem from a lack of reliable information on reproductive and sexual health among youth.

Introducing sex education could be a great way to educate teenagers. However, the idea of incorporating sex education at an early stage is also worrying.

At this age where children should be playing with toys, is it a good step to expose them to sex? Would they be able to accept it?

We have to accept the fact that with current progress in technology and the Internet, teens can find out about sex with just a click of a button.

Whether their parents realise it or not, teenagers these days are being exposed to mixed, unrealistic and confusing messages about sex on television, the Internet and from their friends.

That is why it is better for the information to be taught in a proper manner, rather than letting them find out by themselves. Introducing teenagers to sex could help counter any incorrect concept of sex.

Plus, teenagers need a safe outlet to explore all of the confusing thoughts and feelings that have to do with sex without being judged. Rather than posting the question in online forums and getting the wrong advice, they need a place where they can ask questions and get accurate answers.

Unfortunately, many parents are not prepared to answer those kind of questions or feel that the child is not ready for the answers.

With teachers to discuss with and guide them about the issue in school, teenagers might be able to open up.

Who knows, besides curbing teen pregnancies, we might even be able to detect sexual harassment or rape cases involving some of them.

However, teachers have to be careful that they are educating, not confusing or putting fear, into their minds.

Malaysia is a multiracial, multi-religious and multicultural nation with each ethnic group having its own notion on the subject.

That makes teaching sex education in schools more challenging.

I believe the government should inform the public about what will be included in the sex education syllabus.

It is essential, especially for the parents, to be aware of what their children are going to learn.

Until today, no one has seen the syllabus or been told how the teaching is to be done, and that creates doubt about the plan.

Explaining what will be taught and how will help get the public’s trust on the issue.

Read more: SEX EDUCATION: Teenagers need safe outlet to explore subject – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/sex-education-teenagers-need-safe-outlet-to-explore-subject-1.170859#ixzz2CMQjYOxz

Heng: Teachers’ training may include sex education

Tuesday November 13, 2012 MYT 5:52:39 PM

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/11/13/nation/20121113143847&sec=nation

By MARTIN CARVALHO

KUALA LUMPUR: Teachers’ training may include sex education to address the social issues facing the students.

Deputy Women, Community and Family Development Minister Datuk Heng Sai Kee said the ministry mooted the idea to the Education Ministry recently to see if sex education could become part of syllabus at the teachers training colleges.

She noted that sex education was now taught as part of health science for Year One to Year Four students with future modules to include social related issues.

“This will allow teachers, in particular those giving counseling, to also teach students on the dangers and consequences of pre-marital sex, including the laws on statutory rape,” ,” she told reporters.

At present, she said that an eight-week pilot programme to teach students of the dangers of pre-marital sex had been introduced as part of the school curriculum for students finishing their UPSR examinations in Sept and PMR students in October.

Some 6,820 pregnancies and births involving girls below 16 were recorded between 2000 and Oct 9, 2012.

Heng said 67 teachers have been selected from rural, urban and special schools to undergo training courses before the start of the programme.

On a separate issue, Heng said the ministry backed the Government’s move to amend statutory rape laws to take away the courts discretion in binding over first time youth offenders.

Some 5,976 statutory rape cases were recorded between 2007 and August this year. Of the cases, 5,115 were charged resulting in 1,631 convictions.

Ministry: Teen pregnancy prevention module in Year 6, Form 3 curriculum

Published: Wednesday October 17, 2012 MYT 3:52:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday October 17, 2012 MYT 3:53:56 PM
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/10/17/nation/20121017154514&sec=nation

By MARTIN CARVALHO

KUALA LUMPUR: A pilot programme to teach students of the dangers of out-of-wedlock sex has been introduced as part of the school curriculum last month as a means to prevent incidents of teen pregnancies amongst girls below 16.

The move was amongst the steps taken by Women, Community and Family Development Ministry to address the social issue which recorded over 6,000 teen pregnancies and births involving girls below 16 since 2000.

“Based on data of the National Registration Department, a total of 6,820 pregnancies and births involving girls below 16 were recorded between 2000 and Oct 9 2012,” the ministry said in a written reply to Chong Eng (DAP-Bukit Mertajam) in Parliament.

The pliot project, in cooperation of the Education Ministry, teaches Year 6 and Form Three pupils of the risks and dangers of sex via the Reproductive Health and Social programme.

The programme was based on the Reproductive Health Adolescents module of the Federation of Reproductive Health Associations.

“The programme was implemented as part of the curriculum for Standard Six and Form Three students after their respective UPSR, PMR and special students examinations in selected schools nationwide beginning September,” it stated.

The ministry said that 67 teachers were given training to teach 1,360 students on the dangers and risks of unmarried sex during the programme held between Sept 8 and 10.

More News Go

Parents need to educate kids on sex

Sunday September 23, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2012/9/23/education/12003388&sec=education
THE report “Frank and factual approach” in StarEducate (Sept 9) was an informative piece and deserves to be taken seriously by all parents and teachers.

Teaching children the facts on sex and sexual development needs to be done with care, sensitivity and in a holistic manner.

Coping with changes in sexual development is an issue every child must face, and the challenge is even more critical for children during their formative years. Educators and parents must therefore regard sexuality as part of human drives and needs that must be correctly channelled.

The necessity for giving correct information about sexual development and sexuality to children is of great importance. Children nowadays are exposed to knowledge about sex through the mass media, Internet, books, movies, their peers and relationships.

And if they are being misled and not taught to differentiate between what is appropriate and what is not, they are most likely going to end up exhibiting inappropriate behaviour or falling victims to evil and unscrupulous adults.

Parents can and must play an important role in imparting knowledge of sex to their young ones. Children must be taught to know that they could be used as objects by some adults to gratify their deviant sexual needs.

One very critical area is the need to inform the kids as to what constitutes “appropriate and inappropriate touching” and parents need to emphasise this aspect to their young sons and daughters.

A child needs to be constantly reminded about who, how, when and where he or she is touched. It could be when a child is visiting a doctor or in a classroom.

Gone are the days when we reminded our children to be wary of strangers, these days we have to remind them to look out for neighbours, friends and even relatives.

After all, it has been proven that many cases of sexual abuse involving children are committed by people who are known to the victim, some of whom are “trusted” family members.

I think that parents must open up and be willing to talk and communicate with their children on all matters relating to sex, physical and mental abuse.

Today, sex education is indeed important and practical as we cannot expect teenagers to follow rules blindly without knowing why they should follow them. It is important to explain to our youngsters the need to abstain from sex especially unprotected sex until after marriage.

Children must be taught responsible sexual behaviour from the time they are ready for such instruction. It is also vital to teach them safety and preventive measures so that they will know how to handle situations should they be sexually assaulted or abused.

The many rape cases involving young girls and abandoned babies are worrying and we all can play a role by reducing and even preventing these tragedies.

A sound sexual education will save the child untold stress from guilt, fear, remorse, pain and retribution in the future.

Children are our greatest hope and they must be treated with respect and dignity.

DAVID TIH

No taboo in talking about ‘it’

Sunday September 23, 2012
http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2012/9/23/education/12014699&sec=education

AS a Children’s Court advisor, I found your recent article on sex education to be informative.

Sex education is likely to help young people act and behave responsibly.

With the many cases of teens and young women dumping their infants as a result of unwanted pregnancies, and the high rate of abortions and sexually-transmitted diseases, it is about time that sex education is taught in schools.

I think schoolchildren should be given a holistic view of sex, sexuality and reproductive health. What are we waiting for?

Evidence shows that sex education programmes have a positive effect on teens as they take on a more “guarded and safer” approach when it comes to their choice of sexual partners.

Such knowledge also enables them to make informed decisions when they become young adults later in preventing unintended pregnancies, baby dumping and getting sexually-transmitted infections and diseases.

Many parents dread speaking to their children on sex as they are embarrassed and have no idea as to how to approach the topic. However, it must be done with an openness and in an easy-going manner to put their children at ease.

As long as sex education is presented in a wholesome manner, with its biological and moral aspects intact, there is less danger of children becoming prey to irresponsible adults or sexual perverts.

The time has come for us to teach even preschoolers to make sure that they are aware of the “right” and “wrong” touch and other inappropriate gestures.

Changing social conditions, rapid urbanisation, an early start to puberty and delays in marriage, and the gradual decline of extended families have all contributed to changes in relationships and sexual behaviour among young people.

As parents and adults, we have to teach and guide children on all issues pertaining to sex and sexuality.

BULBIR SINGH

Cries for sex education grow louder

Email Print 20 September 2012 | last updated at 12:07AM

By Chok Suat Ling | sling@nst.com.my 0 comments

PEOPLE throw all manner of things from the balconies of apartments — used tissues, cigarette butts, and perhaps the occasional flowerpot.
There have also been news reports of sofas and other furniture, as well as hapless pet kittens and puppies, being thrown from a considerable height.
In Mobile, the United States, recently, a pet dog named Lola was thrown from the third-storey balcony of an apartment. The pup miraculously survived.
Not so fortunate was a newborn baby girl flung out from one of the upper floors of the Desa Mentari flats in Petaling Jaya last Sunday. The baby died of severe head injuries and her unmarried mother, who allegedly gave birth on her own, has been remanded to facilitate police investigations.
This latest case of baby dumping — or more accurately, hurling — may be gut-churning and heartbreaking, but it’s nothing we have not seen before. Bloody bundled babes have been found not just on pavements, but everywhere else, on the steps of mosques and churches, in garbage bins, the dump, in bushes, orchards and public toilets. Some are found alive, others dead, with or without their umbilical cords, heads or limbs, and are riddled with mosquito and ant bites. And then, there are those discovered crushed, mutilated or burnt beyond recognition.
Disturbingly, most of the perpetrators are still children themselves. The cases persist despite Herculean efforts by many quarters to educate, create awareness, and offer drop-off points for unwanted babies.
The first baby hatch in the country was set up by non-governmental organisation OrphanCARE two years ago at No. 6, SS1/24A, Kampung Tunku, Petaling Jaya.
The concept is simple — drop off baby, depart and don’t do it again. The main gate is unlocked and no busybodies will be around to ask any questions. A number of babies have been gently dropped off anonymously at the hatch, and adopted.
OrphanCARE has plans to open two more similar centres, one in Kota Baru and the other in Johor Baru, this year, and there are hopes to set up another in Penang next year.
A hatch may be far from an ideal idea, but it is better for a child to end up alive within its safe confines than dead in a dumpster. It is certainly more viable in the short term, and not as messy, as what was proposed by a senator in Dewan Negara not too long ago — castrate the men who make girls pregnant out of wedlock.
A school for pregnant teens has also been set up in Jasin, Malacca, to address social ills affecting Malay teenagers, such as co-habitation and baby dumping.
All these well-meaning efforts aside, however, the most effective solution in the long term is for adults — parents and teachers — to be able to talk to their charges about the birds and the bees without hyperventilating and a surge in blood pressure.
It would be easier to do so with British author Peter Mayle’s graphically illustrated book Where Did I Come From? as a guide, but that was labelled “obscene” and banned earlier this year.
Indeed, in Asian culture, sex is still very much a taboo subject. Parents, with children on the brink of adolescence, find it excruciating to talk to their children about it, what more the teachers.
But this can no longer be. The world is evolving and the young are growing up in a much more complicated age. Teach them well or they will get scraps of information from their peers, YouTube and Facebook. This may prove damaging, and in the long run, very dangerous.
There has been much wrangling, but the authorities remain wary about introducing sex education as a separate subject in school. At present, elements of it are assimilated in various subjects. But even if not as a subject on its own, sexual knowledge and education can still be effectively conveyed to students.
But what this requires from adults is that they overcome their misplaced reticence and self-consciousness. Parents and teachers must find ways of imparting information to children in a way they are most comfortable with. Our kids deserve nothing less.
And it must be stressed to them, too, that wearing V-neck and tight T-shirts, as well as having muscular bodies, does not make them sexual deviants. Brad Pitt and Arnold Schwarzenegger wear V-necks and have ripped biceps, and so does that epitome of machismo, Chuck Norris.

Read more: Cries for sex education grow louder – Columnist – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnist/cries-for-sex-education-grow-louder-1.145948#ixzz274NzYxTQ

Flawed sex education in schools

Wednesday September 12, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/9/12/focus/12008831&sec=focus

 

What is sex education? Is it only about the science and mechanism behind sexual intercourse?

A friend of mine, who is a high-school prefect, was conducting spot checks on students. She was about to check the pockets of a female student when she got an unexpected response.

“I would rather let my boyfriend touch my body than you!” the student told the prefect.

She couldn’t believe what she had heard and neither could I when she related the story to me.

The Education Ministry has tried hard to introduce sex education as part of the high-school syllabus, but it is all pointless.

There is no clear direction, whether or not our students will learn about the anatomy and mechanisms and the psychological part of it. Instead, everything has turned out just to prepare students for exams.

Sex education should be holistic and independent of the other subjects. It should consist of the science, psychology and ethics of sexual interactions that include the mechanism of sexual intercourse, sexual anatomy, birth control, male-female relationships as well as sexual misconduct.

Moreover, it is more crucial that these materials are delivered by professionals, for example, personnel from the Federation of Reproductive Health Associations, Malaysia, rather than ordinary biology teachers in school.

Apart from that, the involvement of parents in sex education is important. It is always best to first tackle the parents before the children. Only then can it be considered a holistic approach.

HOW WEN YAO

Kuala Kangsar