Sex education in schools 'timely'

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014


ISSUES on teenage pregnancy and the implementation of the mandatory appropriate reproductive health and sexuality education under the Reproductive Health law were highlighted in Baguio City.

According to International Planned Parenthood Federation for the East Southeast Asia and Oceania Regional youth representative Jeross Aguilar, teenage pregnancy in the Philippines needs to be addressed.

He attributed it to ignorance and lack of education.

“Sexuality education program has been unevenly applied,” he told reporters, stressing the country has an unclear curriculum on sex education, which he claimed is one reason why cases of teenage pregnancy continue to increase.

“What we find is that the more educated young people are about their bodies, and by empowering girls about their rights to their bodies and their choices to make better lives for themselves, we see decrease across all ages of teenage pregnancies,” he added.

Aguilar believes the implementation of the comprehensive sexuality education under the Reproductive Health (RH) law will help address the issue.

Although the provision covering sex education has been opposed by some, he said it is just appropriate to empower young people to think for themselves and learn the consequences of the actions they take.

He shared the IPPF has been coordinating with the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Social and Welfare Development and the Department of Health for the training of teachers and for the further development of the curriculum that is right-spaced, age appropriate and culture and gender-sensitive.

He said sexuality education does not only cover anatomy but also risky sexual behaviors, dangers of sexual abuse, identifying sexual harassment, threats of sexually transmitted infections and diseases and how to respond to them.

Under the law, the age-appropriate reproductive health and sexuality education will be taught by trained teachers in formal and non-formal education system from Grade 5 to high school. The same must be applied to both public and private schools, out-of-school youth and enrollees in the Alternative Learning System.

It will be integrated into all relevant subjects and will include values formation; knowledge and skills in protection against discrimination, sexual violence, abuse and teen pregnancy; physical, social and emotional changes in adolescents; children’s and women’s rights; fertility awareness; STI, HIV and Aids; Population and Development; and responsible relationship.

The comprehensive sexuality education will be carried out as soon as the law's implementation is ready to go.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 29, 2014.

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