Mon, 13 Mar 2000

Sex education to be put into curriculum

JAKARTA (JP): The Ministry of Education intends to introduce sex education into the curriculum by methodically integrating it into existing school subjects and activities.

The ministry's director general of elementary and secondary education, Indra Djati Sidi, said it would be integrated in such a way so as not to burden students who already have a full school load to deal with.

Speaking after opening a nationwide competition on creativity for students and teachers of elementary level, Indra told journalists that elements of sex education would be proportionally integrated at all levels of primary education.

"Sex education will also be given through various activities, including extracurricular programs and discussions with sexologists and related experts," Indra claimed.

Indra could not say how soon sex education would be introduced as the teaching material for the subject is still being drafted by his office to suit the different student levels.

Indra appealed for parents' support, and said parents would also be able to impart their knowledge about the subject to students.

"To gain support from parents, we are going to run a public campaign on this project and we will also hold proactive dialogs in teacher-parent associations," Indra said.

He appealed to the public not to be overly concerned about the unintended effects of sex education in school.

"Sex is a fact of life," he remarked.

"Sexual matters are not taboo in religious teachings and we are going to design (teaching material) so it will be appropriate according to ethics in the East," Indra explained.

Education experts have been stressing the importance of sex education in school to fight ignorance about sex among young people.

Many have cited the ignorance in this field as one of the causes which contribute to the spread of AIDS among young people. (08)