The Curriculum Committee of the Kerala General Education Department has approved the Adolescence Health Education Programme and decided to introduce it in Class IX and X, although the CBSE has put it on hold in CBSE schools. How do parents, teachers and students see the programme? Our readers respond:

Commendable concept

The curriculum committee of the Kerala General Education Department will be stirring up a hornets’ nest with its Adolescence Health Education Programme, proposed to be introduced in classes IX and X. The committee has cleverly chosen to avoid the common nomenclature, sex education. A similar move by the CBSE had come under fire from different quarters in the recent past. The concept is commendable. Even now teachers in schools deal with the topic’s periphery. Instead of introducing it as part of the curriculum, the purpose can be attained otherwise. Competent persons should be invited to hold awareness classes/seminars on the subject. Authentic books should be kept in the library. It is a fact that students have easy access to pornographic CDs and literature which can mislead them. Teachers as well as parents should also be prepared to discuss topics with students. AIDS awareness classes wrongly promote the use of condoms. Classroom learning of such matters may also encourage open courtships and flirting on the campus.

N.K. Vijayan

Kochi

A student’s thinking

As a student of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) syllabus, I welcome the board’s decision to put on hold the Adolescence Health Education Programme in CBSE schools. Such a concept, I believe, is more appropriate to be dealt at a higher level. Moreover, parents and teachers have already raised concerns over the contents in this programme.

P.M. Sachin

Ernakulam

Society should act

Let us welcome the step taken by the curriculum committee of the General Education Department. All human beings are bound by certain values. Promiscuity was thus naturally restrained. Today, due to the influence of western culture and globalisation, there is all-round deterioration in our values. Unmarried couples’ staying together as live-in partners is not news. Dangerous diseases like AIDS are spreading. In Western countries, if a boy or a girl does not start dating after a point of time, their parents suspect something abnormal. Society cannot remain a silent spectator. We should educate our children about healthy sexual practices. With proper adolescent education, the spread of deadly diseases such as AIDS can also be curbed.

Let us do whatever is necessary to make our young adults grow up as responsible citizens. They are the country’s future assets. Proper sex education received from an authentic source is definitely better than learning it from friends.

Ambalath Aboobakar

Thrissur

Awareness essential

The value system of youngsters, particularly teenagers, has undergone vast changes. Today teenagers are exposed to all aspects of life. There is great media exposure and technology touches every aspect of life. Their inquisitiveness is highly visible. Things which the teenagers of the past either did not know or were not permitted to discuss are now open for them. In this context, why not teenagers be imparted, as part of their curriculum, knowledge on adolescent health in its various manifestations. The move is met with resistance from a section of conservatives who feel that by imparting such knowledge the young minds are likely to be corrupted. This argument does not carry any substance. On the contrary, if teenagers are made aware of the problems they face, it will surely help them lead a perfect life. At the same time, the teachers should be careful to distinguish between vulgarity and natural processes in a refined manner.

T.N. Ramachandran Nair

Thrissur

Welcome move

The decision of the curriculum committee of the General Education Department to introduce the Adolescence Health Education Programme in classes IX and X is a welcome move. Usually, schoolchildren have a vague and often wrong idea of sex. They are but always eager to know about such things. They are mostly confused and at times terror stricken due to the changes in their body and mind. This confusion, if not handled properly, can lead to catastrophic results. As the children are hesitant to seek guidance from their parents, they end up reading all wrong information from negative sources. They mostly depend on friends. They try to gather information on the Internet as well. What the children seek should be incorporated in the curriculum. It should be imparted in a delicate manner. Our usual classroom techniques may not be very practical.

Ratnam Sreekumar

Thrissur

Reduced risk

The Kerala government has taken a bold decision to introduce adolescence health programme in school curriculum. Adolescence is a period of transition. Physically and emotionally, it is the most vulnerable period in a child’s life. Hormonal changes bring about anxieties, stress and depression. Introducing the programme will give them a better understanding of their body and its functions. Those who fear that such a course might be detrimental to a teenager should not forget that they now have access to porn sites and channels from where they get wrong notions about sex and sexuality. Proper education will give them correct information regarding sex and health issues. This will in turn reduce the risk of teenagers getting sexually exploited.

Archana V.

Kollam

Not a taboo

Teenage is a turbulent age. Youngsters are curious about the rapid changes in their body. Parents may not be able to give proper guidance. In this context, it is a wise and worthy decision by the government. It will also accomplish the prime aim of education -- to create robust young ones who will carry the nation forward. A few parents might not be happy with the move, since they consider the subject taboo. So, public awareness is mandatory for this programme’s success.

N. Ramachandran

Vakkom

Path-breaking

Adolescence is a critical period when teenagers need support to cope with the rapid physiological changes and emotional insecurity. There are many cultural barriers to open discussions on biological sciences at homes. Will it not be better if the schooling system provides them with authentic and scientific information.

Thiruvananthapuram

Holistic approach

The CBSE has decided to desist from implementing the proposed Adolescence Health Education Program in their schools. In my thinking, it is a wise decision. Our schools should also follow suit. The students in the State are already handling a heavy curriculum. Burdening them with such avoidable courses, in whatever form, is not desirable. We should be wise enough to know that teenage is a very complex period and it needs a holistic approach to guide our children through the turbulent days.

M.M. Pillai Perumbavoor

High time

Growing up is a pleasant but stressful experience. Often the adolescent is ill-equipped to appreciate the sudden mental and physical changes. Most of the physical and psychological problems that a person experiences can be traced to this phase. But the policy makers have not come up with a systematic approach to tackle these issues. So, there is definitely a case for a well-planned programme for imparting health education to the adolescents. Academic bodies and experts must be roped in to prepare the curriculum, which must include the body’s growth and the fundamentals of sexual development. A discussion with parents and religious leaders may be undertaken to dispel their apprehensions.

Dr. P.N.N. Pisharody

Karunagappally

More In: KERALA | NATIONAL