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UP says no to sex studies in school

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Lucknow
  • Published 18.06.05
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Lucknow, June 18: Mulayam Singh Yadav’s basic education minister is outraged a central committee has recommended introduction of sex education in schools and has red-flagged any such proposal for Uttar Pradesh.

Nanhe munne bacchon ko condom sikhana hai? (You want to teach kiddies about condoms)?” an aghast Kiran Pal Singh asked yesterday.

“No way, it will promote obscenity and destroy the state’s culture.”

The Centre had recently called a meeting of state education ministers to discuss the proposals of the National Curriculum Framework Review Committee headed by Professor Yash Pal. Sex studies at the basic level in schools was one of the proposals.

“We will have another round of meetings before the issue is settled but Uttar Pradesh has already said no to the proposal of sex education,” Singh said.

The minister seemed to suggest the meetings were a plot to trick Uttar Pradesh into accepting the proposal. “This may be a conspiracy to prod us into accepting it. Sex education will promote obscenity and increase crime in the state.”

Education is, however, a concurrent subject and the Centre is bound to take the opinion of states before implementing any proposal.

Singh refused to concede that sex education could have a potentially beneficial side. Told that such awareness could prevent children from indulging in reckless sexual acts, he retorted: “These are the outpourings of the so-called upper caste intellectuals.

“I have no faith in the convictions of people who reflect in the comfort of their air-conditioned drawing rooms.”

The Yash Pal committee was set up last October and was to have been wound up in May. Its recommendations are ready but discussions between the Centre and states are still going on.

Experts said basic sex education would go a long way in checking the larger number of unwanted and unplanned pregnancies in the state, which has a population of 170 million. Between 1991 and 2001, the growth was 34.1 million, more than the population of Canada.

A survey by a voluntary group on the need for sex education said 80 per cent children feel there is a communication gap on the subject not only with parents but even with older siblings.

At least six voluntary groups working with AIDS victims have suggested such studies should be introduced and their beneficial aspects would outnumber any harmful ones.

AIDS activist Arief Khokar said: “Sex education is the process of acquiring information and forming attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual identity, relationships and intimacy. It will greatly reduce the risk of contracting sexually transmitted ailments.”

According to figures put out by the state AIDS control department, there are 9,052 HIV cases in the state.

There are 1,614 full-blown AIDS patients, excluding 1,200 children who have contracted the infection from their parents.