Indians have always considered the word ‘sex’ a taboo and have refrained themselves from using it at their liberty. And while it’s time to be open about it, there are some entities who wish to add some more restrictions to the subject of ‘sex education.’
The NDA government believes, using the word ‘sex’ or any of its derivatives may distress people and hence must be avoided while framing policy documents with respect to sex education for teens. According to reports by The Telegraph, the Human Resource Ministry has compelled an expert panel to shorten their recommendations on adolescent education to just one sentence as the original draft has the word ‘sex’ mentioned twice.
The final document was submitted while Smriti Irani headed the ministry in May, earlier this year. And as per sources, half a page was dedicated to sex education for adolescents and it contained strong arguments for thorough sex education lessons against unprotected sex. However, the ministry took objection against the same during the last rounds.
A source said, “They said that words like ‘sex’ or ‘sexual’ could not be allowed and the section had to be condensed into just one sentence.”
One of the sentences from the original draft cited their need to address “the health of adolescents, particularly the reproductive and sexual health needs”, given that this being “a culturally sensitive area, they are deprived of appropriate information,” which the source thought leads to “their understanding (being) guided predominantly by myth and misconception, making them vulnerable to drug/substance abuse and HIV/AIDS transmission”.
Hence, the draft suggested providing the adolescents with “age-appropriate context intervention focused on reproductive and sexual health concerns, including HIV/AIDS and drug and substance abuse”.
Finally, now the only sentence that has been mentioned in the 220-page final policy is: “The Adolescent Education Programme and National Population Education Programme need to be extended to all schools as early as possible.”
Looks like BJP has been quite hesitant about the programme since its introduction in school. Apparently, back in 2009, a report by a Rajya Sabha committee, headed by senior BJP politician Venkaiah Naidu had also prohibited textbooks that depicted condoms or certain body parts.
Nobody knows who was that person who took offence by the word. The document was sent to various state government and school boards. The document was even uploaded by the ministry on the website to seek public’s opinion. “We did not make it an issue because the policy’s focus was not on adolescent education: it’s a broad document on the entire subject of education,” said the panel member who spoke to the newspaper.
The final document does use the word “sex” once but in a different context (where “gender” would have sufficed), saying “all students, irrespective of caste, creed, location or sex would have access to education of a comparable quality up to a given level”.