Tuesday, May 05, 2009

MOE investigates complaints over Aware sex programme

The Ministry of Education (MOE) said yesterday that some parents have expressed concern over the content found in an “AWARE Comprehensive Sexual Education: Basic Instructor Guide” that has been posted online. The MOE said it was investigating this matter. Apart from MOE’s own sexuality education programme, the ministry said that “schools can also collaborate with other agencies”. In doing so, schools must ensure that any programmes run by external agencies are guided by the same principles set out in MOE’s framework for sexuality education, said the ministry.

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Why do schools engage external agencies?

As the needs of students vary across schools, schools are given the autonomy to decide on topics that would best meet their students’ needs to augment sexuality education in schools; and also on which external agency to engage. For this purpose, guidelines on the engagement of external organisations to conduct sexuality education have been given to schools.

What are the guidelines for schools to engage external vendors?

Sexuality programmes conducted by external agencies should adhere to the guiding principles as set out in the framework for sexuality education. They have to be premised on the importance of the family and respect for the values and beliefs of the different ethnic and religious communities on sexuality issues. Parents may also opt their children out of any sexuality education programme.

What should schools look out for when engaging external vendors?

Specifically, in the selection of external vendors, schools are advised to screen external agencies to ensure that they are of good repute. In addition, the schools should consider (a) background of the vendor, (b) details of the programme, (c) key messages conveyed, (d) mode of delivery that would best engage students, (e) feedback and evaluation process for future improvements.

What are the common topics covered by the external agencies?

In secondary schools, the common topics include boy-girl relationship, STI/HIV prevention, consequences of pre-marital sex, Internet safety and pornography. Postsecondary schools cover topics on STI/HIV prevention, consequences of pre-marital sex, dating, love and relationships.

Does MOE audit programmes by external agencies?

Currently, schools audit the programmes and provide MOE with the feedback. As specified in the guidelines in engaging external agencies, teachers should be present with the students to ensure that the key messages conveyed are consistent with those agreed upon by the school and the external agency. It is good practice for teachers to follow-up with their students after the workshop to clarify any outstanding issues or concerns that were either not addressed during the workshop or were surfaced during the workshop itself. Schools are also advised that they can check with Guidance Branch if they need further information and advice on the programmes conducted by specific vendors.

Source: MOE

From TODAY, News – Friday, 01-May-2009

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