The Human Resource Development ministry formed an expert panel to shorten its recommendations on sex education to just one sentence, to avoid the use of words sex and sexual in the education. According to a statement in the Telegraph, the original draft submitted in May mentioned the word sexual twice. Smriti Irani was traveling the ministry at the time.
They said that words like sex and sexual could not be allowed and the section had to be consolidated into just one decision a source told the English daily. According to the report, the panel’s original draft contained half a page on adolescent education and advocated more lessons against unprotected sex. The initial draft discussed the health of youngsters, particularly the reproductive and sexual health needs as they are stripped of appropriate information due to its culturally sensitive nature.
It noted their understanding guided predominantly by myth and misconception, was making them vulnerable to drug and substance abuse and HIV and AIDS transmission. As a solution, the draft proposed that youngsters be provided with age appropriate context intervention focused on creative and sexual energy concerns, including HIV and AIDS and drug and substance abuse. This section on adolescent education has now been reduced to The Adolescent Education Programme, and National Population Education Programme needs to be extended to all schools as early as possible.
PANEL MEMBERS HAVE THEIR SAY
Another board member told The Telegraph on the condition of anonymity that the committee complied with the ministry’s advice because it agreed that the word sexual might offend people. We did not make it an issue because the policy’s focus was not on adolescent education: It’s a full document on the whole subject of education the panel member told the newspaper appending that the implementing agencies could always expand the one sentence proposal as they felt fit. Former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian, who was heading the committee, rejected to comment.
The final report does use the word sex once but only to say all students, irrespective of creed, caste, sex or location would have access to education of a comparable quality up to the highest level. The 220 page last policy document was to be sent to the various state governments and school boards. The ministry has, however, rejected to accept the recommendations, saying ‘they would be negotiated as inputs.