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Rediff.com  » Getahead » Sex education and 8 courses we must teach in schools!

Sex education and 8 courses we must teach in schools!

Last updated on: June 27, 2014 23:06 IST


Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters

Dear Dr Harsh Vardhan, here's what we SHOULD be teaching in our schools.

For a country that will very soon have the youngest population in the world, we have strange archaic views about the one thing that interests youth the most -- sex.

Our political leaders -- the latest to jump onto the bandwagon is Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who's now hiding behind that increasingly tiring 'what I said was misunderstood' excuse -- sporadically slam sex education in schools because, they seem to believe, it leads to promiscuity.

Their jaded explanations about how this could happen is something we'd prefer to ignore.

Instead, we'd like to focus on some of the other things besides, of course, sex education that we believe should be taught in India's schools.

Have your say! Should sex education be banned in schools?

Post your comments here!

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1. Sex education

Image: We are a country of over a billion. Perhaps it's time we start talking about sex and contraception. (Picture used here for representational purpose only.)
Photographs: Pawel Kopcznski/Reuters

Let's see, for starters we are a country of MORE than a billion.

If this is not a good time to start talking about sex (and contraception) we really don't know what is.

We are also, for the first time, speaking openly about the LGBT community.

Would it not be a good idea to dispel myths about sexual orientation among children?

Wouldn't it be a good idea to raise them without prejudices against those whose orientations aren't like their own?

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Tags: LGBT

2. Gender sensitivity

Image: India is counted amongst the unsafest countries in the world for women. A course in gender sensitivity is urgently needed. (Picture used here for representational purpose only.)
Photographs: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters

A course in gender sensitivity goes hand-in-hand with sex education.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012 -- that is 68 rapes a day! This is not to mention the number of cases that have gone unreported.

Of these cases, 24,470 were committed by someone the victim knew.

Every new gruesome rape case brings the issue back into the limelight. But we all know that the problem runs deeper.

There is an urgent need to sensitise young men and women about gender equality so they don't carry the prejudices of the generation before their own.

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3. Self defence

Image: We cannot stress how important it is to teach self defence in schools. (Picture used here for representational purpose only.)
Photographs: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters

If the rape statistics mentioned on the previous page don't scare you enough, you probably haven't thought of kidnapping and child trafficking, have you?

It isn't just girls who need to learn self defence, boys do too.

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Tags: 1

4. Physical training

Image: Why stop at yoga? Why can we not introduce them to other forms of physical activity, like gymnastics as seen here? (Picture used here for representational purpose only.)
Photographs: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters

Dr Harsh Vardhan spoke of making yoga compulsory in the school curriculum.

But why stop at yoga?

Why not introduce young children to all kinds of different physical activities -- karate, boxing, athletics... we could go on!

Physical training is one of the most overlooked classes in schools today.

At a time when obesity is becoming one of our generation's greatest problems, shouldn't PT -- not just yoga but also other activities -- get more importance than ever?

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5. Civic sense

Image: As a people we lack civic sense. Is this what we would like to pass down to our children? (Picture used here for representational purpose only.)
Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters

Spitting on the roadside, urinating and defecating in public, throwing away rubbish in the open -- let's face it, as a people we lack civic sense.

Is this what we would also like to pass on to our next generation? Or would we want them to know better?

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Tags: 1

6. Life skills

Image: What is so bad in learning some basic life skills... like cooking for instance? Seen here is Chef Gaurav Anand, just one among in the male-dominated industry. (Picture used here for representational purpose only.)
Photographs: Rediff Archives

How often do men step out of their parents' shadows for work or education and find it a task dealing with simple day-to-day activities -- like removing stains from clothes and ironing them or sewing a button.

Our preconceived notions about gender also mean it is most likely that a woman will not be able to hammer a nail or change a tyre.

Would a class in carpentry for girls or sewing for boys be such a terrible idea?

We think not. Wouldn't you agree?

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Tags: 1

7. English conversational skills

Image: Most Indians struggle when they have to communicate in English. (Picture used here for representational purpose only.)
Photographs: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

This might come as a shock to you but most Indians lack basic knowledge of conversational English.

Rishabh Gupta, who runs a portal that helps young students find internships told us here that he wished they spoke and wrote better English.

(He is just one among the many recruiters who thinks this is a big problem.)

And mind you, these are city kids, who are supposedly more exposed to 'western' culture.

You can only imagine how bad the situation is in smaller towns.

Basic conversational skills in English are the need of the day.

We simply cannot ignore the language anymore.

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8. Religious tolerance

Image: It is important to teach our children the importance of religious and cultural diversity and the dangers of marginalising the minority. (Picture used here for representational purpose only.)
Photographs: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters

Religious prejudices run deep. But someone has to start eliminating them somewhere.

What better place than at school? And why can it not be your government, Dr Vardhan?

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9. The course itself

Image: The one thing that urgently needs to be taught properly to students is the course itself. (Picture used here for representational purpose only.)
Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters

Last but not the least the one thing that urgently needs to be taught properly to students is the course itself.

Why, for instance, should a child feel the need to attend a tuition class if s/he would learn what is there to be learnt in the school itself?

There are admittedly issues that prevent this from happening... school teachers' poor salaries being the first.

School teachers are the people who shape the future of a country.

Should they be among the lowest or the highest paid?

This one should be easy to answer, shouldn't it?

Tags: 1