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Sex education not about sex–DepEd

/ 05:39 AM August 26, 2016

It’s not about sex, but about matters that affect one’s personal safety, hygiene and well-being.

This, according to a Department of Education (DepEd) official, was the primary aim of sexuality education in the K-12 curriculum, that detractors of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law of 2012 (RH Law) have denounced for supposedly teaching adolescents and grade-school pupils about the sex act.

Teaching age-appropriate sexuality education in public schools is one of the provisions of the RH Law whose full implementation President Duterte has pushed for.

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In a statement, Rosalie Masilang, DepEd Adolescent Reproductive Health focal person and supervising education program specialist, said teaching sex education in school was meant “to equip and empower learners in making informed choices and decisions on issues that affect their personal safety and well-being.”

Good touch, bad touch

Masilang said that as early as Grade 1, pupils are taught the difference between a “good touch” and a “bad touch,” to help them avoid falling prey to people with impure intentions.

“We tell the kids that they have the right to say ‘no!’  to being touched. Children should learn the kind of touch that is innocent and that with malice,” the DepEd official said.

Children, she added, are most vulnerable to exploitation, mainly from people related to them, and sexuality education can help them note the warning signs and avoid abuse.

Masilang debunked the misconception among conservative groups that sexuality education was just about sex, and said that children would also learn  the science of reproduction, physical care and hygiene and puberty. Also included are discussions on gender and sexuality, correct values and the norms of interpersonal relations to discourage premarital sex and teenage pregnancy.

Teenage mothers

According to estimates by the United Nations Population Fund, more than 60 percent of Filipino women  from 2000-2010 became mothers before they reached the age of 20.

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Masilang said sexuality education can be integrated in the curriculum either through natural or  purposive means.  Natural integration means it would be taught as part of Science, Health, Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies) and Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao (Values Education) subjects.  Purposive integration can be done through Mathematics and Language subjects.

The DepEd official said teachers and guidance counselors teaching sexuality education were equipped with adequate knowledge and skills to competently handle the subject.

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