Monday, May 04, 2009

Parents should be involved as well

SEXUALITY EDUCATION
Don't just leave it to schools or authorities

Letter from Woon Sook Yi

I REFER to "Content of sessions was appropriate" from Ms Sum Chee Wah, director of Education Programmes, Ministry of Education (MOE) (April 29).

I write as a parent of three children.

I can tell the scope of subjects taught in school from its textbooks. However, family values cannot be adequately taught in school. A child's identity is largely shaped by his or her family values and upbringing, moral and religious beliefs included. A child's growth encompasses his or her emotional, physical and mental needs, as well as awareness of his or her sexuality. All these needs should be fundamentally addressed at home.

Therefore, I would suggest that the MOE relook its scope on guiding students over such non-textbook, sensitive issues. Sexuality education in particular.

Sexuality education delivered by external parties, who are also shaped by a value system, cannot be neutral or balanced. At such a session, children are vulnerable to suggestions and implications, and generally do not have the ability to process the long-term consequences over such a sensitive and intimate aspect of their life.

Sexuality has its physiological and clinical perspectives, but children eventually have to make personal choices, and their decisions and actions are still guided by family values and affirmed by family support.

My suggestion is that any programme on sexuality that students have to attend should be conducted on an opt-in basis and at least one parent should sit in with the child when these issues are discussed. This will place the onus on parents to be aware and involved in their children's wholesome education instead of leaving it to the school or the Government.

Just as we place so much emphasis on our children's first day in school, first exam (and subsequent ones) et cetera, we should also place a similar interest towards helping them move onto their next phase of wellness.

From TODAY, Voices – Thursday, 30-April-2009
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