Schools skirt sex education debate by opting for counselling, slideshows | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Schools skirt sex education debate by opting for counselling, slideshows

mumbai Updated: Oct 04, 2011 02:05 IST
Deepti Khera

City schools are no longer shy of addressing issues related to child sexual abuse and many have started conducting sessions in which children and parents are made aware about the issue.

"Cases of sexual harassment have been on the rise in schools and younger children are more vulnerable as they may not be able to express themselves," said Deepshikha Srivastav, principal of Rajhans Vidyalaya, Andheri. "We have full-time counsellors who conduct sessions on good touch and bad touch," she added.

Like Rajhans, other schools have also responded to the demand for such awareness. A few months ago, parents of students from Eurokids, Versova, had complained about a young teacher who allegedly taught toddlers how to kiss.

Following the incident, another pre-school, Podar Jumbo Kids, Santacruz, prepared a slideshow on the difference between a 'good touch' and a 'bad touch'. The slideshow is shown to toddlers' parents, staff members and even bus attendants. Moreover, all Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) schools have an adolescent development programme wherein children are taught about sex education, among other things.

However, whether sex education is required at the school level is still a strongly debated issue. When asked if it should be made mandatory, Srivastav said, "Children are too young to understand what is sexual and what is asexual. But they can be taught a lot of things indirectly which conveys the message better."

Activists, and survivors of child sexual abuse have a different opinion on sex education. "We need to understand the difference between sex education and pornography. Sex education will not provoke children but will enable them to come up the right words to indicate an act of abuse," said Harish Iyer, a media professional, who was a victim of sexual abuse for 11 years. "Had I known at the age of five what was happening with me, I wouldn't have been abused for so long. Sex education is the need of the hour."