Recently, six states-Gujrat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan-have banned sex education for adolescents or refused to incorporate it into curriculum, saying the study material was too explicit or was against the social and moral values of the country. The programme, devised jointly by the Ministry of Education and the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), was aimed at providing sex education to adolescents school students between 15-17 years of age to improve understanding of adolescents about their body and help counter the rising problem of HIV/AIDS in the country.
According to the United Nations, India has the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases with 5.7 million HIV-positive people.
India is a developing country that is becoming more and more liberal and experimentative. The society is gradually becoming more permissive of sex prior to marriage, though it’s still considered immoral and shameful in most parts of the country. People are becoming more conscious of their health. In such a situation, sex education, better to be called health education, is a necessity.
The adolescents are quite inquisitive about the changes taking place in their body and want to know about sex and sexuality. The social taboo associated with the topic restrains them to ask their parents or elders. In such a situation its difficult for them to get correct information about the anatomy of human body and sexuality. They often depend on their peers who are equally ill-informed. The absence of proper knowledge makes them even more curious towards sex and the opposite sexes. Many of them try to find about sexuality through experimentation which may further worsen the situation in lack of proper knowledge. If they are given proper information regarding their body, sex and HIV, they would be able to take care of their health and body in a better way. Their decisions would be more mature.
A healthy, living society has no place for stagnation and things have to evolve including morality and social values.
Sujatha Rao, NACO chief very correctly questions:
Are you more concerned about culture than the lives of younger people?