London, Sep 18 (ANI): Brit teenagers will now learn how to use a condom and obtain the morning after pill as part of their curriculum at school and college.
Pupils will be able to gain the equivalent of a D grade under the GCSE-style qualification in sex, which has been devised to raise awareness of issues surrounding relationships, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases.
The Government-funded qualification is being offered in nine schools and colleges for the first time this term with plans to expand it across the country.
Last night, the move sparked outrage among families' groups who claimed it legitimised sexual promiscuity and failed to make any reference to marriage.
But Suzanne Cant, research manager at the qualifications provider NCFE, which is running the course, seemed to disagree.
"Sexual health education should play a part in the curriculum for all young people," the Telegraph quoted her as saying.
"The latest figures show teenage pregnancy rates are falling, but not falling at a fast enough rate to meet Government targets.
"Meanwhile, annual diagnoses for sexually-transmitted diseases are already in the hundreds of thousands - and increasing all the time.
"Part of the way to tackle these issues is through education and [the] qualification offers a formal way to assess and certificate learners to help ensure the right messages are being delivered and understood," she said.
Northern Council for Further Education (NCFE) formally launched the Level 1 award in sexual health awareness following official accreditation by Ofqual, the exams regulator.
Level 1 examinations are equivalent to low-level GCSEs graded D to G.
The course, which is aimed towards students who are not yet ready to take full GCSEs, and takes just nine hours to teach,asks pupils to give the names of male and female sexual organs, describe two examples of "risky sexual behaviour" and outline two methods of contraception "that would be suitable for a young person".
Students, who will be encouraged to take the course between the age of 14 and 16, are taught about the age at which someone can access sexual health services "without parental consent".
Another question asks pupils to outline "two things it's important to remember when using a condom" and list two places where emergency contraception, such as the morning after pill, may be obtained.
A further section focuses on HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Pupils are asked how HIV can be transmitted and to outline one possible consequence of not having Chlamydia treated.
Norman Wells, from the Family Education Trust, said: "In spite of its name, this new qualification is more about promoting sexual experimentation and the use of contraception by children than it is about promoting sexual health.
A spokesman for the Department for Education said: "There are hundreds of qualifications that are accredited by Ofqual for a plethora of different ages, abilities and settings. We rightly trust heads to choose what is best for their pupils." (ANI)