Health Minister Harsh Vardhan evokes sharp criticism for banning sex education in schools

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Sex education:Harsh Vardhan takes U-turn
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan's yet another controversial comment of banning sex education in schools have brought sharp criticism from all quarters of the society. In his vision document for Delhi schools, he has said,"so-called sex education should be banned. His website- -also states the need to integrate value education with course content.

Africa is trying to expand sex education programmes for its youth

This latest controversial statement after his earlier statement that fidelity in marriage is a better way of fighting AIDS than condoms have again brought into light the debate on sex education in schools. Even earlier, political parties in 2007 had opposed to sex education after the National AIDS Control Organization(NACO) and the Ministry of Human Resource Development promoted scheme for adolescent education programme.

The Health Minister's irresponsible comment have earned condemnation from the nation as well as from international media. India is home to third largest population of HIV-infected people and most of these cases are due to unprotected sex. Also teenage pregnancy is rising in India and can be handled only through education. Union Health Minister should realize that sex education is not only necessary but should be a must in the school curriculum.

Today, Africa is struggling with HIV and AIDS and according to UNAIDS 2008 report, an estimated 5.7 million South Africans were living with HIV and AIDS in 2007. The country is trying to expand sex education programmes for the country's youth. The only way this epidemic can be addressed is through sex education.

Dr Harsh Vardhan's stand on banning sex education drew also sharp criticism in the social media with author Chetan Bhagat condemning it and calling it the worst of BJP."Highly disturbed and disappointed by statements by a doctor health minister banning sex education in school. BJP at its regressive worst," tweeted author Chetan Bhagat.

Reacting to it, Aamir, a Delhi University student raised a significant point and said, "Number of crime against women is increasing in the country because of lack of sex education in school curriculum."

"Children are attaining puberty at the very early age these days. By the age of 12-13 years, many children are sexually mature and several teens are also sexually active. In such scenario, it would be idiotic to turn a blind eye to reality. Not only should parents speak to their children about sex and the implications and responsibilities arising from it, schools too should play an active role in imparting sex education to students," said an activist.

"There is primary need for sex education as it will instill essential information about contraception, alcohol abuse, STDs and other risky sex behavior," says Omyer Lassu, a SRCC graduate.

These issue raises questions whether sex education remains a taboo in Indian society. Union Health Minister after facing the heat, denied the remark and reiterated that sex education is necessary but without vulgarization.

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