Consensus is the buzzword in the Centre's renewed efforts to put sex education textbooks back in schools. Representatives of State Council Education Research and Training (SCERT) from twenty states met in New Delhi on Tuesday to review the revised Adolescence Education Programme module.
The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and the Ministry of Human Resources and Development are developing the new module jointly.
NACO director general Sujatha Rao said the new module provides children between 10 and 19 years with scientific information and skills to manage their concerns about reproductive and sexual health, besides how to protect themselves from HIV.
Sex education in India had a shaky start with nine states banning it under pressure from right-wing legislators who described the books “offensive and against Indian sensibilities”.
“We have put up the text on the NACO website for public scrutiny and invited comments…it will be a six-month campaign with workshops and discussions to ensure we have a consensus on the methodology and text,” said Sujatha Rao, who insisted on calling it life-skills education instead of sex education.
She said the Centre could not adopt a prescriptive approach and need consensus from parents, teachers and society before publishing the text and translating it in local languages. The new module also aims at imbibing coping strategies on relationships and managing emotions among adolescents.