Sunday, July 10, 2016

Indonesia - Govt pushed to include sex-ed in school curriculum

Civil groups have urged the government to introduce sex education in schools nationwide in an effort to prevent sexual violence against students following the rape and murder of a junior high school student in Bengkulu that shocked the nation.

Dozens of activists from the Indonesian Children Proclamation and Women Action Committee -- which comprises non-governmental groups Independent Adolescence Alliance (Ari), Earth People Music Syndicate (Simponi) PKBI, Rutgers WPF Indonesia, Mahardika Women -- met with Education and Culture Minister Anies Baswedan on Monday to push for sex education being included in the national curriculum.

Sex education is crucial to give students a better understanding of their bodies and sexuality so they can better protect themselves against sexual violence, M. Berkah Gamulya from Simponi said.

That is in line with results of research conducted by the School of Public Health at the University of Indonesia and Rutgers WPF from 2011 to 2013.

Comprehensive sex education must also include knowledge about reproduction, sexual health, gender and gender equality as well as their relationship with society, Berkah said.

Sex education should be introduced at an early age and adjusted in accordance to a student's age, he said.

“What is the function of mathematics without sex education that teaches students about dignity at an early age?" he said.

The groups will also monitor the development of government action in preventing sexual violence, especially against children. They claimed that monitoring would play a pivotal role in preventing more children from experiencing sexual violence.

Anies welcomed the suggestion, saying the government planned to include sexual and reproduction health in the national curriculum.

He promised to further discuss the suggestions with his ministry, especially including reproductive health in the national curriculum, extra-curricular and also non-curricular activities.

"Children will be taught about themselves," Anies told journalists at his office.

Moreover, the ministry will focus on non-curriculum activities to help students develop good habits and positive characters.

"The most important thing is that students respect other people and realize what is right and what is wrong," Anies added.

The ministry will also establish a directorate for family education to strengthen parents' roles in equipping their children with knowledge on self-protection.

Public was shocked by the news of the gang rape and murder of 14-year-old junior high school student Yuyun in a remote village in Bengkulu early last month. Yuyun was dragged into the woods, raped and murdered by 14 young men when she was on her way home from school. (rin)

Callistasia Anggun Wijaya

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