For almost a century, sex education has been taught in schools across various countries worldwide in different forms to an extent that it has become a major feature of many schools. However, the specific aspects of sex education that should be taught generally vary between countries though most of them address physiological development, the basics of reproduction as well as sexual health, safety, and practice. Actually, some countries have made sex education a compulsory part of schooling, a legislation that has generated huge criticism, especially from religious groups. These critics have raised their opposition on the basis that sex education is permissive for the sexual relationships of young people and therefore ethically corrosive. On the contrary, supporters of sex education in schools have argued that it delays the age of initial intercourse, prevents sexually transmitted diseases, provides helpful information about sexuality and sexual expression, and prevents teenage pregnancy.
The Sex Education Debate:
In the past few years, the increase in the rates of sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers has contributed to increased urgency regarding sex education. While the debate has attracted arguments and counter arguments from proponents and opponents respectively, both segments do not dispute the fact that the average child is engaged in sexual imagery. The immersion of the average kid in sexual imagery has been fueled by several factors including the barrage of confusing messages that young people are faced with. Consequently, transcending the disharmony of mixed messages is a host of alarming facts since children receive titillating images from media, are merely taught to say no to sex, taught how to put condoms on bananas, and others receive no information. As a result, these children are increasingly becoming sexually active at an earlier stage in their lives (Masland, n.d.).
In addition to being increasingly sexually active at an early age, kids are becoming increasingly vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases to an extent that they account for 67% of STIs. As a result, comprehensive sex education has emerged as one of the major factors that could help in tackling the gigantic problem. Such education should address critical areas while providing detailed information about abstinence, sexually transmitted diseases, and contraception.
Notably, while people agree that young people need to learn about sex, the major question has been where they should learn about sex. Furthermore, the major issue in the debate over sex education is the concern on whether providing the kids with more information regarding sex actually contribute to sexual activity. For conservatives, abstinence should be the only content with regards to sex education as illustrated by the alarming statistics. On the contrary, liberals state that the increase in sexually transmitted infections and diseases is the major reason for provision of more comprehensive information.
With regards to where kids should learn about sex, there have been arguments that they should be taught in schools while others support sex education to be taught in the home. Proponents of sex education to be taught in schools argue that compulsory sex education has numerous benefits, especially in providing useful information and preventing the diseases and teenage pregnancy. However, opponents of sex education being taught in school state that it should be the purview of parents since it encourages early sexual relationships of taught in school. Therefore, encouraging and forcing sex education to be taught in schools undermines trust in the education system while harming the individuals' relationship with the society and families.
As the debate rages on, children are trapped in the middle and continue to be increasingly susceptible to potentially deadly diseases. Despite of where it's taught, sex education remains to be an important aspect in the fight against sexually transmitted diseases. Children and young people are continually affected by the availability of less or more information about sex. The impact of the issue originated from the fact that these people are immersed in sex imagery through the kind of information they receive about sex. The rates of sexually transmitted diseases among young people continue to increase as they are confused with the barrage of messages about sex. Moreover, their sexual activity is worsened by the uncertainty on where to receive information about the issue i.e. from parents? from school? from friends? Or from media?
According to McLane (2007), conservatives and liberals concur that information provides a level playing field though they disagree on whether the information is good or bad (p. 28). Generally, liberals support the idea that sex education should be taught in school because of the soaring rates of sexually transmitted diseases among young people in the past few years. These claims can be considered as true to a certain extent since comprehensive sex education in schools could help in lowering teen pregnancies and rate of STDs.
Generally, education is the most appropriate way to help students in doing the right thing because they would receive necessary information to make informed decisions through discussions. Therefore, if sex education is taught in schools, children would get more information that could answer many questions that they have about the subject. Furthermore, the information would help in breaking the ice with their parents and enable them to learn more outside the schooling environment.
Based on claims by proponents of sex education to be taught in schools, children would have the opportunity to learn both from the school and home environment rather than from one area. The need for sex education to be taught in schools is also fueled by the fact that parents don't know how to approach their children regarding the subject. Secondly, parents tend to be uncomfortable in talking about sex to their children since they don't know what to say about sex. Thirdly, parents have increasingly become too busy with their own schedules and may not have the time to talk to their children about sex. As a result of these factors, it seems increasingly important for sex education to be taught in schools.
Despite of the seemingly logical reasons, there is evidence from literature that oppose the concept while supporting that sex education should be taught in the home. According to the findings of a survey, more than 50% of parents do not think that sex education should be provided to children at school ("Sex Education," 2011). These parents think that it's unsuitable to teach children about sex while others argue that it should be their choice to teach their own children. First, the notion that sex education should be taught in schools to help lower the rates of STDs and teen pregnancies is refuted by the fact that these problems have continued to escalate while sex education has been taught in schools for a century. Actually, the rate of sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy has increased over the years as children are taught sex education in schools.
Secondly, the information provided by sex education to children in schools largely contributes to their sexual activity that enhances their risks and vulnerability of contacting sexually transmitted diseases. Since young people tend to be curious and adventurous, some of them use the provided information to experiment and become sexually active. Third, the provision of sex education in schools undermines trust in the existing education system while destroying the person's relationships with the family and society.
In light of the ongoing debate, a compromise regarding sex education should be reached soon, especially on where it should be taught and what should be taught. Notably, the compromise or decision should be made in consideration of arguments and issues presented by both proponents and opponents. This is particularly because both proponents and opponents of the issue have logical and practical reasons for their arguments that should not be disregarded. This is despite of the fact that the sex education debate is expected to be…