Karnataka: Policy on sex education need of the hour, say experts

Currently, there is a lack of understanding of sex, sexual health and comprehensive education on the matter in the education sector.
Image used for representational purposes only. (Photo | Sourav Roy, Express Illustrations)
Image used for representational purposes only. (Photo | Sourav Roy, Express Illustrations)

BENGALURU:  While sex education remains taboo in many spaces, educational institutions in Karnataka want to take a positive step and say that a new approach is necessary. Colleges and experts want the government to take proactive measures and make comprehensive policies on sex education that are not limited to higher educational institutions (HEIs).

Ravi Sankar AV, Head of Department, School of Social Sciences and Humanities (SOSSH), CMR University said, the onus to introduce such policies lies on the State and Union governments. “If a policy such as this is implemented, we can expect pushback from some regressive societies... then this will remain a pipedream even for the Union Government to implement,” he added. 

Currently, there is a lack of understanding of sex, sexual health and comprehensive education on the matter in the education sector. Teachers often shy away from answering questions raised by youngsters and in higher educational institutions, professors skip chapters on the subject.  

YSR Murthy, Vice-Chancellor, RV University, emphasised the fact that sex education cannot be approached in the same manner as other subjects as it demands delicate handling and the application of suitable pedagogical techniques. “Students come from diverse backgrounds, hailing from urban and rural settings, conservative and ultra-modern households, co-educational to all male or female institutions. In light of this heterogeneous context, educational institutions need to dovetail their offerings,” he said. 

Most of the experts TNIE spoke to said institutions need to hire professionals to take these classes. Specialists with enough knowledge, expertise and a clear vision should be roped in. Case studies from different scenarios, audio-visual aids, news stories from across the country and statistics can make the subject interesting the drive home the point. 

Purnima Venkat, Assistant Professor, TA Pai Management Institute, Manipal, said, “For adequate coverage of the message to the larger audience, using the vernacular is very important. This not only covers a larger population but also includes families and parents in this message.” She added that the communicators in this process are largely teachers in government schools and colleges who need tremendous support and handholding. “Sex education should be a part of the school and college curriculum.

We introduced personal safety chapters in Telangana government school textbooks, which talk about good and bad touch, though it’s not complete sex education, it’s a start. The conversation also needs to be gender inclusive on a non-binary level. The concepts of gender and sexuality need to be made grade and age-appropriate,” said Sangeeta Saksena, co-founder, Enfold, Proactive Health Trust, which works closely on imparting sex education.  

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