Tuesday, September 29, 2009

UNESCO International Guidelines on Sexual Education

At what age do you think it is appropriate to talk about sexuality and how should it be discussed?

This question has been floating around the global community, especially due to the ever-growing HIV crisis and its links to sexuality.

The United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) gave us their take by drafting the International Guidelines on Sexual Education, presented this June at the 19th World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) Conference.

The goal was to provide a comprehensive, systematic approach to sexual education, covering everything from love and relationships, orientation, pleasure, family planning and HIV/STD prevention options in an evidence-based, health-focused, culturally sensitive way. The curriculum is categorized in age-appropriate lists, teaching sexuality in digestible doses.

After getting wind of the draft, conservatives jumped. Feeling uncomfortable with “teaching masturbation to five year olds,” the protests began. Parents complained that it is inappropriate for teachers to and Focus on the Family’s vice president Chong Cheh Hoon said that the Guidelines are like “telling…kids not to smoke and yet providing them with cigarette filters.”

UNESCO employee Mark Richmond defended the Guidelines saying, “At the moment, education is the best weapon we have for dealing with these issues… Evidence tells us that by and large, young people do not have access to the knowledge that could help them make informed decisions and thereby avoid tragic consequences.” The agency is certain that the youth are interested and deserve to know the facts.

The draft was given a second chance at the Sex and Relationships Education Conference on September 7th-9th. UNESCO stood by its goals, but reworked some areas with attending specialists.

A finalized version is said to be out by the end of this year.

While this has been debated for some time, now is the time to sit up and pay attention! Read the June 2009 guidelines to decide what you think and keep your eye out for the final draft!

photo credit to lamont_cranston on flikr

No comments: