Sunday, 20 October 2013

Sex Education

Ministries of education have to play a critical role in building consensus on the need for sexuality education through consultation and advocacy with key stakeholders. So says the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, June 2009.

[Consensus. Consultation. Stakeholders: Where have we heard this language before?  We`ve heard it being used in relation to the Early Years Collaborative. UN documents are riddled with this language and so are the consultations involved with GIRFEC.  The Scottish Government is steadfastly following the UN (and European) template.]

According to UNESCO key stakeholders to consult regarding sexual education include:

Young people and organizations that work with them ;[including  youth parliaments set up by the European Commission ?]
Policy makers and politicians;
Government ministries, including health and others;
Education professionals including teachers and head teachers;
Teachers` trade unions; Parent-teacher assocations; Religious leaders and/or faith-based organisations; 
Local communities and their representatives;
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups;
NGOs, particularly those working on sexual health and reproduction;
Media; (local and national)
Training institutions for health professions;
Parents are given the status of stakeholder in parent-teacher associations but otherwise are swamped by other professionals and organisations. This strategy is similar to the consultation exercise carried out by the Scottish Government with regard to GIRFEC and the Children and Young People Bill. Consulting selected groups who may have something to say about an issue may seem a fair and democratic way of doing things at first glance but actually loads the dice against parents in favour of the Government`s chosen policy, which in this case is a UN policy.
I have never met a mother who was pleased that her five year old was receiving sex education in school before he/she has even learned to read and write. Nor have I seen a parent proud that their seven year old was drawing genitals and labelling them for homework. On the contrary there is dismay that in some way children are having their childhoods stolen from them. The problem for many parents in Scotland is that teachers often explain that this is to prevent teenage pregnancies and that research indicates that the way things are done in the Netherlands with their lower teenage pregnancy rates is evidence that it works. Who knows what factors really make the difference but whereas teachers have all ready been armed with their arguments, parents have nothing but their feelings about it and usually do not put up too much resistance.

Let`s face it. It`s only a minority who become pregnant under-aged teenagers. What they need is support. Few people expect children to remain ignorant approaching puberty but why should the majority of children lose their innocence at such a ridiculously young age ? 
Parents are informed that they do maintain the right to remove their children out of sex education classes at the moment but whether that will still be the case if the Children and Young People Bill passes into law and there is a named person who disagrees remains to be seen. It does put parents under a different kind of pressure. They do not want to have their children stand out as being different to their classmates. Is there any advantage to a child in being the one who is ignorant when all their classmates are in the `know`? Probably not. It`s a lose-lose situation. Then again, Curriculum for Excellence is set up so that health and wellbeing (including sex and relationships) is to be dispersed throughout the curriculum; so there`s no avoiding it all.
Therefore parents reluctantly acquiesce. Yet how many have explored the UN Learning Objectives? 
Here are the Learning Objectives for Level 1 (ages 5 - 8)

 Explain the concept of private parts of the body:
Most children are curious about their bodies

It is natural to explore and touch parts of one’s own body

Bodies can feel good when touched

Touching and rubbing one’s genitals is called masturbation

Some people masturbate and some do not

Masturbation is not harmful, but should be done in privatee

This is supposed to cut down teenage pregnancies ? On the contrary, the UN cannot sexualise children early enough. I would call this grooming. It`s part of UN Agenda 21 and the drive
to break down family values.

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