The unpreparedness of teachers to guide pupils on the subject may yet be the biggest snag in government’s sex-education program, a pro-life group claimed on Saturday.
Many teachers themselves grew up in environments where the subject was considered taboo, pro-life group Philippines Foundation Executive Director Marisa Wasan said.
“So how can we make this program successful when the ones who will execute them are unprepared and unmotivated?” Wasan said in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines news site.
Wasan urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to reassess its decision to include sex education in schools in time for the opening of classes on June 15.
DepEd, she said, should instead be consistent in its vision of helping Filipino children achieve their full potential in a learning environment suited to them.
She also stressed the primary right to instruct children on sexual matters belongs to the parents or children’s guardians, and not to the school.
“Although schools have the right and duty to assist parents in this undertaking, sexual morality must not be imparted in a group setting while this moral education must conform to the tradition and teaching of religion and culture,” she said.
Wasan cited complaints from her group’s members that teachers supposed to teach the subject are apparently not well trained, “so they ignore the curriculum or do not know how to deal with it.”
Pro-Life also expressed concern the targeted students are as young as 11 years old, and the program includes “videos and sessions [that encourage] use of contraceptives and [show] situations involving decision-making over committing sexual intercourse.”
“If we teach children to use condoms, we tell them in effect that it is all right to have sex thus they gain a false assurance in a situation where they themselves should not be trying out at an early age,” Wasan said.
“Yes, knowledge is power but if they are given to the wrong hands, it could be detrimental,” she added.
She said sex and sexuality, “by their very nature are private and intimate,” so teaching sex education in school would make them “public and open,” because “education is an activity which is essentially public.”
Wasan said she sees no reason for sex education to be taught as a separate subject in school since education on sexuality is already integrated in various programs.
The DepEd, however, said sex education would be integrated in other subjects.
“If sex education is about the anatomy of the reproductive system, sophomores take up Biology and elementary students get a basic glimpse in their Science and Health subjects. If sex education is about personal hygiene, don’t we learn that from our Good Manners and Right Conduct subject? And if sex education is about chastity and delayed
gratification, aren’t those handled already by Values Education teachers?” she said.
On the other hand, Wasan acknowledged the department’s efforts to curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and lower pregnancy rates among teens by stressing abstinence.