Monday, 12 March 2012

Kids Need Sexuality Education!

I will be finishing my contract as a researcher at MOE this Thursday and am looking forward to the short break that I will have with my baby girl.

Although the pay I got from this assignment wasn't fantastic at all but the reason I took on the job was my immense interest in the topic that I will be (and am) researching on: Sexuality Education (SEd) in Singapore.

The Ministry is always looking to improve the way sexuality education is taught in Singapore schools so that our children can have the most well-rounded education that they can have, which as we all know is the buzz-word nowadays. I thought this was a much needed addition to our overly academic-focused education system.

I remember very distinctively at my interview, my interviewers asked me why I was so passionate about SEd.

I answered that my passion for it stems from my own personal experience. A relative of mine was raped by her boyfriend without her even knowing that she was being raped. She didn't know that what she was doing was sex so when she found herself pregnant months later, everyone got a shock of our lives!

That was when I realised how important SEd is.

Ignorance is certainly not bliss in this case. If we don't teach our children the right thing, they will learn it somewhere else and we can't guarantee that what they are learning are the right thing.

We need to be able to address subjects such as homosexuality, pornography and sex (in all its different variants) with our children honestly, openly and lovingly.

If you have kids in school or are a school teacher you will know that our children are taught SEd in schools via the Growing Years Series. Although its called sexuality education, the content is not all about sex. It also includes a whole host of topics that will educate your children on the importance of taking care of themselves and their bodies.

Parents are allowed to opt their kids out of the lessons but frankly, I really hope that parents don't opt out!

Why should you? We weren't as lucky and didn't have sexuality education when we were in school (well, not explicitly anyway) and I remember that there were classmates of mine who didn't even know what sex was at 15 years old. Plus, the teachers are specially selected and trained to teach on top of their regular teaching workload so as parents, we really ought to have our teachers' back and be supportive.

And I'm not saying that the curriculum is perfect, it's not (that's why we're doing research to find out how we can improve it). But I am saying that SEd is important for our children so we should really support and encourage it in schools.

In fact, why not start educating your child from a young age? According to the Health Promotion Board, you can start talking to your child about sexuality from 3 years old onwards. Hopefully we can arm our children with the right knowledge so that they are able to make the right decision for themselves one day.

How do you educate your kids on sexuality? Share with me because in a year's time, it will be my turn for the birds and the bees talk with my baby girl =)
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