THE new leadership of the Department of Education (DepEd) said he is not keeping a closed mind on the issue of sex education in the basic school curriculum.

"I want an honest-to-goodness discussion on this issue. Dapat bukas tayo sa lahat ng mga isyu dahil napag-uusapan naman ang lahat," said Education Secretary Armin Luistro.

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He wanted all stakeholders consulted before making any decision on whether the program will be pursued or not.

He earlier received raining flaks after he dismissed a reporter's query on the controversial issue last week though he later apologized for the gaffe.

His predecessor, Mona Valisno, has taken a strong stand on the program, saying it will be pilot-tested in selected elementary and secondary schools nationwide.

Earlier, Antonio Tinio, national president of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), challenged Luistro to bare his stand on the issue.

"Given his affiliation to a Catholic religious order, his constitutionally mandated obligation to uphold secular education will immediately put to the test on the issue of sex education," Tinio said.

"Is he prepared to stand up to the opposition of the Catholic Church," he asked.

The Church has successfully blocked a similar initiative by the education department in 2005.

The DepEd repeatedly explained that the sex education learning modules focus on adolescence, health and wellness, and proper values and character development.

It also maintains that the modules are carefully prepared to suit the understanding level of students from Grade 5 to 4th year high school. (AH/Sunnex)