UN Agencies pushing sex education in India: Critics

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New Delhi, Sep 18 (UNI) Charging that United Nations agencies are pushing sex education in India ostensibly to curb HIV/AIDS, opponents today demanded that schools in the Capital immediately follow in the footsteps of states that have ''banned the syllabus.'' Although ten states have banned sex education that was set to start from July 16, the Delhi government is ''going ahead with the implementation,'' Dinanath Batra told a rally outside Delhi Vidhan Sabha.

Batra heads a group called 'Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti' campaigning against sex education in schools, saying it will make kids sexually active, undermining family and other traditional values.

''Is this what we want our children to learn in school?''Batra asked.

Under the cover of combating Human Immunodeficiency virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, critics say, Indian authorities are colluding with multinational companies to drum up condom sales.

''The Adoloscence Education programme is being promoted and pushed by organisations such as UNICEF-- Children's Fund, UNFPA-- Fund for Population Activities-- and WHO-- World Health Organisation in the name of curbing HIV/AIDS,'' Batra said.

Delhi Public School Association president R C Jain said the United States authorities are imposing a fine of 25 dollars on girls who wear low-waist jeans, while Indian authorities seem to have no problem with such display.

Former Delhi Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has warned the Assembly that sex education in Western societies has contributed to proliferation of sexual activity.

Activists cite how single-parent families and teen pregnancies have become the biggest concerns in the West.

The campaign has drawn support from spokesmen of Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christian faith.

The Human Resource Development Ministry decided to introduce Sex Education-- Adolescence Education-- in schools in the 2007 academic session starting July 16.

Ten States-- Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa-- have declined to implement it, Samiti officials said.

Course material samples are replete with such terms as masturbation, sexual intercourse and safe sex, not to mention genitalia, opponents said.

Critics question the need to introduce such content and criticize HRD Minister Arjun Singh, Delhi Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely and the Central Board of Secondary Education.

The issue figured in Parliament last month and the government announced steps to assign experts to produce ''a guideline'' for implementing sex education programme.

Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Panabaka Lakshmi said a National Adolescence Education Programme Toolkit Review Committee has been set up by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO).

NACO itself is one of the authors of the controversial Programme under fire over content critics say may do more harm than good.

UNI

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