Have you ever felt that some things in the education system could be done differently? Ever felt like you should have a say in how things are done? Felt like you can make a difference, or that you should make a difference?
Ever felt that whom you marry should be your decision? That you should be free to understand your body and sexuality without guilt, shame or fear? That information about and access to condoms and contraceptives should be available freely? That it’s time to have equal standards for all genders? That your sex and society should not define whom you date or love?
This is your chance. To tell us what you think. This is our chance to be heard and to speak up! So that we can tell the government what young people want. So that we can tell the government that sexuality education is needed! Or If you disagree - tell us why!
Because young people have the right to receive information on sexuality and relationships. Because 78% of young people who are less than 20 years don’t know about safer sex. Because over 50% of children in India are sexually abused according to a recent government study. Because 49% of girls in India get married before the age of 18 years. Because nearly 45% of all new HIV infections in the country are in people fewer than 25 years old.
And yet, we are still struggling to make comprehensive sexuality education available in schools across the country. The Central Government along with UN agencies, NCERT and NACO launched the Adolescence Education Program in 2005 which was subsequently banned by several Indian states who felt comprehensive sexuality education is against Indian culture and is not needed by our young people. The curriculum was labeled immoral and too explicit. The curriculum has been subsequently revised and hopefully would be made public by next week.
The AEP was started in 2005. During 2007 it was suspended in several states because there were objections raised by teachers, parents and policy-makers on the content of the AEP as well as the overall need for CSE in India. A parliamentary committee was set up, based on a petition by some parents, to review the need for CSE as well as implementation of AEP across the nation. In the meanwhile NACO along with other partners began the process of revising the AEP curriculum based on the objections raised. The committee in its final report submitted in 2009 stated that AEP should be withdrawn, pending revision of the curriculum.
As of November 2010, the AEP remains suspended in 5 states viz. Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra & Karnataka. Rajasthan, Gujarat and Kerala had also suspended the program in 2007 but have recently started their own versions of AEP in their respective states.
This is a campaign to unite young people’s voices on their need for comprehensive sexuality education, to discuss how we want this education implemented and to review the current curriculum. Many people have had a say in whether sex ed is needed. The government, NGO’s, teachers, Right wing fundamentalists. The only people who haven’t spoken out are us. Young people.
This is our opportunity to have a say in how things are done for us. It is our chance to show that we are equal partners in our own development and that we need to be a part of the governance process. It is our chance to speak up and make a difference. So, browse the site. Read. Learn. Express. Share. Discuss. This is your space. This is your campaign.
Know Your Body – Know Your Rights.
“What would be the quality of education without totality in the approach? If in Chemistry, one is taught the chemical properties of two elements, one is also taught that mixing the two would lead to a third compound. Scientific education builds up one’s logical reasoning. Why deprive an individual of the reasoning when it comes to Adolescence Education Programme? Give a young person the freedom to be able to access information and services and to make own informed choices. Stop human rights’ violation.”
Radhika Mathur, 21 , Jaipur
“Our leaders, both political and religious need to understand that rise in abortions, HIV use of contraceptives (which is in a way harmful due to continuous use) among young people is due to ban on sex related education. This is reality! Hope we will be heard politically and religiously.”
Peter F. Borges, 30 years (Human Touch), Nagpur
“Comprehensive sexuality education shouldn’t be about the biological, physical part of the act alone. It needs to encompass discussions on emotions, consent, safety and in this light be an avenue through which young people can discuss and shatter gender and sexual stereotypes that stifle our progress as intellectual beings.”
Mirna Guha, 23 years , Kolkata
“The hypocrisy surrounding sexuality education in India is mind-boggling. 50% of Indian children are sexually abused and Maharashtra has refused to move forward on a sexuality education curriculum. So we can have sex with kids, we just can’t talk to them about it? Boom.”
Ryan Beck Turner, 24 years, Pune
“Sexuality education is required not only to inform young people about safe sex and protection from HIV and STDs, but also to break the taboo around the issue, to make people comfortable about their body, identity and sexuality.”
Rachit Sai Barak, 19 , Gurgaon
I strongly support the initiative and I really think sex education should be mandatory in schools in India. It is unfortunate that so much ignorance exists in India about these matters when it can easily be nipped in the bud with education!
Its important we teach the youngsters and adolescents about Sex and sexuality which will keep them literate in this area. Its important because media like movies, newspaper, internet, magazines, and every kind of contemporary philosophy misguides you. I think we have rights to know rights things about sex, which is most important thing of life. I think we can control lot of crimes if we are literate about sexuality and we can accept and solve many issues like abortion, rapes, child abuse, murders and many such crimes. You are doing a great job need more help and I think it should be a part of academics compulsorily.
I strongly support this issue.All the best.