NACO To Establish Task Force To Review Sex Education
India's National AIDS Control Organizationsoon will establish a task force to review a national sex educationmodule following recent protests in some states over the nature of thematerials, NACO Director-General Sujatha Rao said recently, The Hindu reports. The module was developed by NACO and UNAIDS, according to The Hindu (The Hindu,7/18). India's government wants the country's 29 states and sevenfederally administered regions to fight the spread of HIV by promotingknowledge about safer-sex practices. The attempts have caused a debatebetween some educators who say that sex education will reduce thespread of HIV and opponents who say it will corrupt young people.
Thegovernments of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have banned sexeducation in public schools, saying that the education modules are tooexplicit and that some photographs are too graphic. The southern statesof Karnataka and Kerala also are considering bans, and Chhattisgarhwill not implement a sex education curriculum. Health Minister AnbumaniRamadoss earlier this month voiced his support for a national plan tointroduce sex education in schools and urged states that oppose theplan to change their stances (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/12).
Rao -- speaking at the launch of the National Women Forum, which is part of the Indian Network for People Living With HIV/AIDS -- said that the task force will include academics, officials from the Ministry of Human Resources, the Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciencesand some advocates.
She added that the task force will be asked tosubmit a report in six months. "It is disturbing that states arebanning sex education, but we want to have a consensus on the issue,"Rao said, adding, "There is no harm about taking a second opinion onour module, but we want a clear message to go across." According toRao, the "explicit" material is intended for teachers rather thanstudents (The Hindu, 7/18).
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