The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education has decided to introduce sex education in the schools affiliated to the Board. The subject has been introduced from Class VI. The Board and the cunning communist state government knew that the society would react if the word sex education was used. So, what they have done is to use a new word lifestyle education in its place. The syllabus however is of sex education. Another point to be noted is that though the subject has been introduced and one period per week has been allotted, students have not been given sex education books. This is because the Board and the cunning communists know that had books been given, the guardians would read the books and protest against the subject being taught in schools. Teachers have been given a handbook which contains the syllabus of classes VI, VII, VIII and IX. Before we discuss the syllabus let us see what committees and eminent people have said about the subject and its syllabus.
Ranjugopal Mukhopadhyay, who is the Chairman of School Education Committee says, ?I believe, imparting lifestyle education through life science and across the curriculum would be a better exercise than being introduced as a separate subject.? The Board has introduced sex education as a separate subject in spite of the recommendation of its committee which said that the topics can be discussed in the life science of biology classes.
Parshad Barta is the mouthpiece of West Bengal Board of Secondary Education. Some relevant points from what Jiban Kumar Mukherjee wrote in December 2003 issue of the Parshad Barta have been mentioned below:
Point(d): Inclusion of a new subject will increase the curricular load. And again the exciting topics of this heavy syllabus can agitate or perturb the delicate mind of the young students in the prime of their youth.
Point(e): Sex education in schools is not an effective measure for getting rid of sexually-transmitted diseases. Much more desirable is developing a social ethos with built-in stricture or censure on pre-marital/extra-marital sex so that the school students can shape and mould their values in this area along with their general value system in life.
Point(f): The family is most effective training ground for human sex life. Due to various reasons that institution is disintegrating. But taking shelter under school curriculum as an alternative may produce the evil results of premature haste.
Point(g): The adolescents can learn everything about the marked changes of their body and mind without any inhibition from their parents. For this the need is not to educate the boys and girls but their parents, so that they can act as a lighthouse for their wards.
All the above protests and reservations have been ignored and overruled in true communist fashion.
Let us now peep into the syllabus. The syllabus for classes VII and VIII asks a teacher to discuss openly and clearly regarding sex.
The following two points are mentioned under changes seen in boys at puberty.
* The growth of hair on the chest, under arm and genitals.
* Increase in the size of the genitals.
Changes seen in girls at puberty has the following points.
* The breasts become heavier.
* Increase in the size of the genitals.
* There is bleeding from the genitals each month which is called menstruation.
Coming later is an elaborate discussion about menstruation, about the use of sanitary napkins, about ejaculation, about masturbation, about methods of washing male and female genitals. Are these the things to be discussed in the classroom? Specially when many of the schools in the rural areas are co-educational. What is the government and the Board trying to do? Is the aim of the government to spoil and destroy the whole new generation? Or is the government trying to create a Europe in Bengal where they have sex with any or everybody but hardly ever get married.
The Shiksha O Sanskrit Raksha Mancha, Pashchimbanga, which has members from ABVP, Vidya Bharati and various nationalist teachers? organisations, has been revived on and from 07/07/2007. The aim of the Manch is to protest against the introduction of sex education in schools, make the general public aware of the conspiracy to ruin the value system of the society and ultimately force the Board and the government to withdraw the subject from the curriculum. The members of the Mancha are already going around different schools, meeting teachers and guardians of the students, requesting them to protest in their own manner.
At least in two districts of West Bengal teachers have protested against the syllabus. The teachers have said that the subject is not worth teaching. These two districts are Midnapur and North 24 Parganas. In parts of the districts of Murshidabad and North 24 Parganas guardians have said that they will not allow this subject to be taught in schools. More protest are in the offing.
The West Bengal government and the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education should learn from the experience of the western countries. Sex education in the western countries has given rise to teenage pregnancies, school-going mothers, opening of abortion centres in schools and the use of birth control pills by school-going girls. Are the state and central governments driving the state in that direction? The state government should also learn from communist Kerala which was among the first states to reject the idea of teaching sex education in schools.
God bring these central and state policymakers to their senses.
(The author can be contacted at 4, Mohinath Porel Lane, Salkia, Howrah-711 106.)