Policy Matters

Maharashtra puts sex education on hold

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Maharashtra government's flip flop on the issue off sex education continues. Till Tuesday the government was ready to get sex education back on the syllabus after banning it in schools last year.

Children today are exposed to sexual content everywhere on TV, in magazines, on the Internet but the irony is that sex education is banned in many states.

Now one year after protests by parents and even politicians forced the Maharashtra government to rethink a sex education policy, they plan to introduce it back in schools across the state.

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''Nobody's life should be ruined because of lack of scientific knowledge. It's the state's responsibility to provide it,'' said Vasant Purke, School Education Minister, Maharashtra.
The statement by Maharashtra's Education Minister on Tuesday caused commotion in the Maharashtra Assembly on Wednesday which forced the Speaker to stall the move to reintroduce sex education in schools following protests by Shiv Sena.

The Speaker pacified the opposition by promising to form a panel of educationists, MLAs and social workers to check if new sex education syllabus is fit for students.

Despite promises of deleting the so-called objectionable portions, the Opposition wasn't impressed.

Last year, the government was forced to ban sex education in schools after parents, teachers and opposition parties protested saying that the content was sexually graphic.

However, the new watered down version was supposed to be introduced in all secondary schools only for the 9th and 11th standard students.

''If implemented sensitively it's fine otherwise it can cause a negative impact,'' said Fauziya Khan, MLC, NCP.

Sex education has been a cause of concern for parents and teachers, but the objection was not the aim of education but the way it was being implemented.

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