Indian Health Minister Voices Support for, Urges States To Implement National Sex Education Plan
Indian Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss on Wednesday at an event to mark World Population Day voiced his support for a national plan to introduce sex education in schools and urged states that oppose the plan to change their stances, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 7/11). India's government wants the country's 29 states and seven federally administered regions to fight the spread of HIV by promoting knowledge about safer-sex practices. The attempts have caused a debate between some educators who say that sex education will reduce the spread of HIV and opponents who say it will corrupt young people. The governments of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have banned sex education in public schools, saying that the education modules are too explicit and that some photographs are too graphic. The southern states of Karnataka and Kerala also are considering bans, and Chhattisgarh will not implement a sex education curriculum (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/18).
"In our country, we do [have] sex," but "we don't want to talk about it, and that is why we have a billion population," Ramadoss said. He added, "In our close-knit society, we have to enlighten and create awareness among our children." Ramadoss noted that the government has recommended mandatory sex education classes in public school twice weekly, adding that states opposing the plan will be the "losers if awareness is not created at the right age." In addition, Ramadoss said that the government is not "taking up sex education in a blatant manner but in a subtle way." He added, "We don't want to create controversy. But we have 55% population that falls in the reproductive age, and we have to create awareness among them" (AFP/Yahoo! News, 7/11).