Calcutta, June 9: The 2004 academic session in Madhyamik schools will be marked by a string of changes, including the introduction of sex education to the curriculum.
The government today confirmed that it was determined to introduce sex education in school textbooks from next year.
The changes to the curriculum were made on the basis of recommendations of the school education committee and were discussed today at a workshop organised by the government at Ballygunge Government School. The meet, which involved eminent personalities in education, was meant to finalise the methodology for introducing the changes.
“We are seriously concerned to know from some national and international level surveys that India has largest number of HIV- positive patients. Our government so far had maintained a conservative approach and avoided introducing sex education in schools. But now we realise the students will have to be given some kind of preliminary teaching on the subject from an early age,” school education minister Kanti Biswas said after inaugurating the workshop.
The minister, however, added that as most state-aided schools are attended by students from middle-class families, the government will ensure that their “sentiments are considered”. The government will see to it that the subject is not taught by male teachers in girls’ schools and vice versa, Biswas added.
Apart from sex education, the changes recommended are:
Reducing number of holidays
Starting the academic session from June 1, instead of the existing practice of beginning the session from May 1
Introduction of vocational courses
Introduction of improved and modern methods of teaching science
According to the committee, schools in the state enjoy the maximum number of holidays in a year. “Against the ideal of having minimum 210 teaching days in a year, academic activities are held for not more than 180 days in Bengal,” said Biswas.