Sex education banned in India in face of rising infections
Three Indian states have banned the introduction of sex education in schools, despite India having the greatest number of HIV/AIDS patients in the world.
Maharashtra’s ban follows recent similar moves in Gujerat and Madhya
The Maharashtra government announced the ban in response to protests from legislators that sex education would corrupt young people’s minds.
The government has also banned sex education books from the Central Board of Secondary Education syllabus.
Some school teachers have spoken in support of a more general approach of education about “social evils” rather than sex education specifically.
N.N. Nayar, a headmaster of a school just outside Mumbai city told the BBC:
“Our endeavour is to make children aware of these evils such as drug addiction, alcoholism and other dangerous things.
“I am of the opinion that sex education by itself is not important, what is important is a holistic approach to the issue of social evils.”
Mr. Nayar also expressed the view that children do not need to be taught about sexual health as he feels they gain enough knowledge about such issues through the media.
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India has a population of over 1 billion, with an estimated 5 million currently living with HIV/AIDS.
According to Avert.org, education about HIV/AIDS is already problematic, due to the variety of languages and dialects spoken across the sub-continent.
For this reason, education is often carried out at state level. Consequently, health education is inconsistent and often insufficient.
This system also allows the establishment of bans on education such as the current one.
Ratna Gaekwad, an AIDS relief worker in Delhi, summarised the problem in The Lancet , asking: “How do you talk about HIV/AIDS to someone who does not know the basics about health and hygiene?”