Philippines Tests Sex Education in Public Schools
June 2, 2010
Starting this year, a basic sex education curriculum will be piloted in 80 public elementary schools and 79 high schools in the Philippines, officials said Tuesday. Beginning with students ages 11-12, the lessons will focus on personal hygiene, physical changes during puberty, gender relationships, and ways to safeguard against sexual abuse and exploitation.
"It will be better if the schools teach sex education rather than children just picking this up from just anywhere like the Internet," said Education Secretary Mona Valisno.
The UN Population Fund-financed Adolescent Reproductive Health program will not cover the use of condoms or other contraceptives, said Teresita Inciong, assistant education secretary, citing parents' opposition.
"They say that if you teach that, you are telling [children] you can have sex, but only safe sex," Inciong said. "But I have no doubt [children] know about that already." Sex is a taboo subject in many families, so children learn about it from peers or the Internet, she said. In addition, a tenth of the population works abroad, often leaving behind children who are raised by grandparents, relatives or neighbors.
The sex education initiative is being criticized by the Roman Catholic Church, the country's dominant religious body. Sex education should be the primary responsibility of the parents, said Monsignor Pedor Qitorio, spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines. The government's approach concerns parents, who believe it will lead to promiscuity and encourage early premarital sex, he said.
06.01.2010; Oliver Teves
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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