Should Malta be teaching Sex Ed. at school?

In 2010, WHO claimed that comprehensive sexuality education programmes are of major importance in the education system as such initiatives delay the onset of sexual activity, reduce the spreading of infections and minimise the risk of pregnancy in teenagers. In 2011, 32 babies were mothered by women under the age of 16 in Malta- today, thanks to an increase in the use of contraceptive methods such as the pill there has been a notable decrease in teenage pregnancies

Great Britain’s Education Secretary, Justine Greening (pictured) this week affirmed that sex education will be implemented in all schools across the U.K.  Until now, schools which were not under the authority of the state were not obliged to implement sexual education within their curriculum. Children aged four and upwards will be educated on safe and healthy relationships, while children from the ages of 12 upwards will receive appropriately constructed sessions regarding sexual intercourse, contraceptive methods, infections… so on and so forth. Faith schools however will teach “in accordance with the tenets of their faith”.

This sudden reform has come into play because MPs and charities have recognised that the current strategy in place is obsolete for today’s fast paced society. As technology advances, as do the complications in adolescents retaining their innocence and retaining a sense of what is healthy and what may be potentially harmful. With five year olds in possession of high-tech devices such as tablets and phones it is a matter of tapping the wrong icon that may lead them to the exposure of explicit images.

In Malta, all schools conduct P.S.C.D lessons (Personal Social Career Development) at least once a week. Personally, I do not feel that this 40 minute long session made much of a difference to my concept of sex as I felt I took more in during Biology lessons which explained subjects such as menstruation and S.T.Is in a more comprehensive (and less aggressively graphic) manner. I also fail to understand why P.S.C.D teachers tip toe around certain subjects which need to be drilled into the minds of a confused adolescent, yet emphasise the moral and ethical issues of a controversial topic such as abortion. Granted, I attended a Church school; meaning that it’s understandable that they would employ religious values in such teachings.

This being said, Maltese adolescents are as mature as God knows what. One can’t walk down Republic street in Valletta at six o’clock without passing by a number of 12-15 year old boys and girls wearing, doing and saying highly inappropriate things. So how effective are these P.S.C.D lessons? Sexual education and awareness of the risks that sex brings with it should initially come from the parents. It’s not the first time that I’ve heard a mother say that she intends to leave such vital education in the hands of the school’s one hour P.S.C.D lesson a week. Which is not only absurd but irresponsible.

While I strongly agree that sexual education and awareness should be given great importance in society I do not fully support the notion which Britain is trying to take.  This is for the simple reason that the Educational institution should not take on the major role of educator in these situations; as they are subjective to various factors such as poverty, religion and race.

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