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Coming soon in Indian classrooms: Sex education 2.0

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Specially trained teachers and peer educators, chosen from among the students, will be the pivots of the 22-hour programme that will centre on role play and activities to bring home the message.

New Delhi: Students across India will soon be made aware of the difference between good touch and bad touch, and issues like sexual violence and substance abuse, through a role-play and activity-based programme.

According to sources in the government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will Saturday launch from Bijapur, Chhattisgarh, the revamped ‘school health education programme’ developed by the health ministry, which spells out novel ways to impart sex education in schools.

Specially trained teachers and peer educators, chosen from among the students, will be the pivots of the 22-hour programme, for which schools will be asked to set aside one period each week.

Students are already being taught about the issues in question under the human resource development ministry’s (MHRD’s) ‘adoloscence education programme’, which seeks to inform students about the issues youngsters confront at different ages.

For example, young children are taught how to differentiate between good and bad touch, and adolescents given lessons in dealing with things like self-identity, self-esteem, sex drive, and attraction towards the opposite sex. Information on HIV and substance abuse has also been a part of the programme.

However, a lot of the information falls through the cracks in the absence of a uniform teaching method.

The method of teaching will be the focus of the revamped programme, under which educators will be expected to enact various real-life situations to bring home the message to students. The idea is to make the teaching process interactive.

Sex education for school students has been a controversial subject in India, given the taboo nature of the topic. According to sources, the government is not in favour of qualifying the new programme as sex education and wants to identify it as ‘adoloscence education’ in the MHRD’s ‘new education policy’, which is yet to be announced.

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