New Delhi, Oct. 2: Lessons on condoms and sexual intercourse will be back in the adolescent education course for schoolchildren, two months after it was decided to delete them following protests that the content was too sexually explicit.
The human resource development ministry had in August asked its course experts to remove all sexual references — including the word condom — from the subject manual following the protests.
But the ministry, under pressure from the National AIDS Control Organisation (Naco), has now decided to re-introduce “sexual intercourse-related topics relevant in the control of HIV/AIDS,” senior officials told The Telegraph.
A new manual, which contains references to “condoms” and “sex fluids”, is now set to be printed for distribution across all Central Board of Secondary Education-affiliated schools, apart from Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas.
“It has been decided that eliminating all references to sexual intercourse or condoms would make the course toothless in tackling HIV,” ministry sources said.
Officials of Unicef, which has been helping the government prepare the course material, confirmed the fresh changes, but added that the new manual would contain “nothing offensive”.
“There will be nothing even remotely objectionable in the new course material,” said a Unicef official associated with the project.
Opponents of “sex education”, who had gone relatively quiet after the August decision, however, said they would relaunch a campaign if necessary.
“Unicef and Naco are not interested in adolescent education. They only want to sell condoms,” said Dina Nath Batra of the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, a nation-wide group that has been protesting against the implementation of the course.
“The country will never accept its children being taught how to indulge in sex at school,” he added.
The course is to be taught from Class VI to Class X.
The earlier Unicef manual was accompanied by a flip-chart containing pictures of naked boys and girls at various stages of adolescent growth to help students understand their sexuality better. Words such as “masturbation” were also included in that manual.
Ten states — Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa — had refused to teach the course, forcing the Congress-led central government to rethink its strategy on adolescent education.
The government had then given its go-ahead to a manual purely based on “life skills” education.