The Department of Education (DepEd) clarified on Thursday, June 24, 2010, that it is not distributing illustrated comics on sex education in public high schools contrary to what the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) claims. DepEd also plans to upload the modules which will be used for the pilot-testing of sex education program in 159 elementary and high schools to give everyone the chance to scrutinize it.
According to Education Secretary Mona Valisno, the comics which were shown on television by members of the CBCP were never part of the modules which will be used for the sex education program. “They may have obtained it from other sources but definitely it is not part of our learning modules on sex education,” she stressed.
Valisno emphasized that the fear of some —parents, teachers, and other stakeholders— that DepEd will teach the act of sex in school is not true. “Why would we do that? I believe that discussion on sex should be the responsibility of the parents who should draw guidance from the moral teaching of the Catholic Church. Both are our partners in educating our children,” she explained.
She said that DepEd is not insensitive to the students’ state of mind as what some critics allege the DepEd to be. “I believe it is grossly unfair to make public such document without really checking the source of the said sex education materials,” she lamented.
Meanwhile, to give the public the chance to review the contents of the modules, Valisno said electronic copies will be uploaded to the DepEd website. “Once the modules (are) uploaded, we would leave it to the public to judge if the critics of sex education are right in claiming that the materials are only about sex and condoms,” she said.
Valisno said that the modules to be uploaded are the same ones that have been used for the past three years in teaching students about hygiene, practice healthy behavior, and looking at the consequences of their actions. The materials also aim to enable young adults to plan parenthood.
She also maintained that the modules of DepEd that will guide the teachers on integrating sex education in various subjects were carefully prepared to suit the understanding level of students from Grade 5 to 4th year high school.
“We assure you that child psychologists were part of the team that developed these modules and we are careful that what is contained in the learning modules are age-appropriate,” said Valisno.
She clarified that the sex education program and the use of the modules are still in its pilot-testing stage and have not yet been implemented nationwide.
Valisno agrees that parents still have the primary roles of molding their children but there is also a need to complement this with proper teaching that will help strengthen the child’s values. “With topics on sex and sexuality circulating on all medium, the parents believe that teachers, who spend more time with their children, play an important role in building the character of the child,” she ended.
By INA HERNANDO-MALIPOT