Tuesday December 7, 2010
More than just sex education
PRIMARY schoolchildren will be taught to say “no” if touched in inappropriate places under the Social and Reproductive Health Education module to be introduced next year.
Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi said that children in Years One, Two and Three would also be taught the physical differences between genders, responsibility for personal hygiene care and the importance of protecting one’s modesty and emotional management.
“Those in Years Four, Five and Six will be taught conflict management, puberty, reproductive systems, the risks of pre-marital sex, sexually transmitted diseases and saying ‘no’ to smoking, alcohol and drugs,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.
Dr Mohd Puad said the module would also be taught in secondary schools, with lower secondary students learning living skills, stress management, sexual identities and orientation among others.
“Upper secondary students will be taught aspects like living skills, mental and emotional stability, teenage pregnancy, and measures to control and prevent smoking, alcohol and drug abuse,” he said, adding that the module comprised 75% of the Health Education subject, which would be taught as a stand-alone subject starting 2011.
“It will not be included in other subjects,” he said. Currently, it is taught across curriculum.
Dr Mohd Puad added that the module covered biological, socio-cultural, psychological and spiritual aspects to promote healthy behaviour and not only focused on sexual issues.
“We are not using the term ‘sex education’ as the name of the subject because it gives a negative connotation in our society.
“The module also covers a wider scope whereby it shapes values and attitudes towards our own identities, relationships and intimacy among people,” he said.
He added that the module would help students form positive views on social and reproductive health as well as assist them in making responsible decisions in the future.
At another function, non-governmental organisation Gabungan Membantan Undang-Undang Pekerjaan called for a separate Act on sexual harassment instead of it being part of the Employment Act.
A proposed amendment to the Act had included provisions against sexual harassment, but was later withdrawn.
Empower executive director Maria Chin Abdullah said proposed changes under the Bill were different from those contained in the present code against sexual harassment.
“For habitual harassers, the penalty can be a transfer out from the department. This does not solve the problem,” she said after handing over a memorandum to Malaysian Parliamentary Caucus for Labour and Migrant Workers secretary M. Kulasegaran.