>POSITION PAPER ON THE INTEGRATION OF SEX EDUCATION IN PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS

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POSITION PAPER ON THE INTEGRATION OF SEX EDUCATION
IN PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS

PRO-LIFE Philippines Foundation, Inc. is deeply saddened and extremely
concerned of the decision of the Department of Education (DepEd) to
integrate in our primary and secondary educational system a course on sex
education.

From what we read, a novel academic campaign featuring videos and sessions
encouraging the use of contraceptives and showing situations involving
decision-making over committing sexual intercourse is being pilot tested
in less than 30 public schools nationwide among students as young as 11.

In fairness to DepEd, we acknowledge their effort to implement a measure
to stop the spread of STIs and STDs and to lower down teen pregnancy rates
in the country. We also appreciate the fact that in the said campaign,
abstinence and delaying sexual intercourse are well-stressed. But then
again, the rest of their efforts need careful scrutiny and adamant
criticism.

Sex education doesn’t belong in schools to begin with. It makes sex and
sexuality, which are by their very nature private and intimate, public and
open. All education is an activity which is essentially public, but
because matters of sex are private and intimate (and pertain fundamentally
to the family), the teaching of sex cannot be accomplished in the
classroom without violating that privacy and intimacy.

Add up to that, implementing sex education could actually send the wrong
signals to our children. A clear example would be the instruction on
contraceptives. If we teach children to use condoms, we tell them in
effect that it is all right to have sex thus they gain a false assurance
in a situation where they themselves should not be trying out at an early
age.  We should therefore not be surprised that many children become
promiscuous and thereby conceive children while they are still children
themselves, or that they contract STDs. In the first place, should they be
acquainting themselves with contraceptives at their young age?

We also don’t see the requirement for sex education to be singled-out. We
affirm that doing so would be redundant. Aspects of education on sexuality
are incorporated into various types of programs, sometimes called family
life skills or family life education in many developing countries. See, if
sex education is about the anatomy of the reproductive system, sophomores
take up Biology and elementary students get a basic glimpse in their
Science and Health subjects. If sex education is about personal hygiene,
don’t we learn that from our Good Manners and Right Conduct subject? And
if sex education is about chastity and delayed gratification, aren’t those
handled already by Values Education teachers?

Another obstacle with pushing through with the program is its
facilitators. Basing from complaints we receive from our members, teachers
do not get trained, so they ignore the curriculum or do not know how to
deal with it. Apparently, there is much discomfort among teachers in
talking about subjects that were taboo when they grew up. So how can we
make this program successful when the ones who will execute them are
unprepared and unmotivated?

As for the recipients of this program, we believe there is a need to
contest the readiness and the maturity of grade-school and high school
students on the sensitive topics involving their sexuality. We suppose
they are too young to be exposed in ideas and scenarios they are not even
meant to experience yet. If ever necessary, college students should be the
ones getting this kind of attention. Yes, knowledge is power but if they
are given to the wrong hands, it could be detrimental.

We firmly deem that younger teenagers should best receive instructions
from their parents or from a mature guardian. Parents have both the
primary right and duty to teach their children the morality of human
sexuality. Although schools have the right and duty to assist parents in
this undertaking, sexual morality must not be imparted in a group setting
while this moral education must conform to the tradition and teaching of
religion and culture.

Springing from these arguments is our belief that DepEd should reconsider
redirecting their vision. We suggest that they become more consistent with
their vision and that is to “assist the Filipino child to discover his/her
full potential in a child-centered and value-driven teaching-learning
environment.”

MARITA F. WASAN

Executive Director

Pro-Life Philippines Foundation Inc.

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Pro-Life Philippines
– is a non-profit organization of citizens who are concerned about
issues pertaining to the inherent value, dignity and nurturance of human life
with corollary issues of survival, security, sustainability.

Our Mission
– to promote a culture of life to stop a culture of death
by harnessing all available time, talent and treasures of information,
education and advocacy programs.

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