I Think Sex Education Should Be Taught In Malaysian Schools. Here's Why

Sex education is an important matter that requires extensive knowledge and the right methods of delivery.

Cover image via pressfoto / Freepik

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Sex education is always a hot topic in Malaysia, especially when it concerns the teaching of the subject at primary and secondary school levels

Sex education teaches the anatomy and physiology of sex. It also involves discussions about human sexuality, sexually transmitted illnesses, and pregnancy (including how to avoid unwanted pregnancies).

We can see how important sex education is whenever instances occur whereby teachers openly joke about rape in front of their students. Rape and sexual harassment are serious problems that should never be taken lightly, much less joked about during sex education programmes.

It is incidents like this that make teaching staff and parents wary about allowing their children to learn about sex at a young age in school.

Booths at one of UNICEF Malaysia's #SayaSayangSaya townhalls that were held in eight states across Malaysia, where one of the topics discussed was the need for age-appropriate sex education.

Image via UNICEF Malaysia

Due to the subject's high level of sensitivity, many teachers nowadays feel insecure about their ability to teach sex education

Many teachers fear that inaccurate delivery of sex education would do the students more harm than good. Additionally, there is also the problem of lack of preparation amongst teachers, which results in students not taking sex education seriously.

The biggest concern for teachers is that in this age of instant access to knowledge, students are more likely to believe what they learn outside the classroom. This causes teachers to find it challenging to properly educate students about sex.

However, students may not receive accurate or comprehensive information about sex via alternative sources, which can lead to misunderstandings, confusion, and even wrongdoings.

For instance, students may be more likely to get sexually transmitted infections (STIs) if they are not taught the necessity of safe sex. Without proper sex education, teenagers may engage in harmful behaviour, from underage sexual activity to rape.

Image used for illustration purposes only.

Image via Kenny Eliason / Unsplash

As for parents, they may worry about exposing their children to sex from a young age

Parents frequently believe that their kids are still too young to learn about certain subjects. They may be concerned that talking to their kids about sex will lead to it becoming a common practice in their lives. They may also worry that they will be unable to properly answer their child's questions about sex.

Another common concern for parents is that sex education will contradict their family's values or religious beliefs. Parents who have strong religious or moral values may be unwilling to expose their children to ideas that contradict their beliefs.

This issue is related to some sex education measures that employ fear-based methods to scare students away from sex, such as demonstrating unsuitable graphic images or highlighting the consequences of teen pregnancy.

This approach is susceptible to failure, as it tends to make students feel scared, discouraged, and ashamed to study more about sex in the future.

An excerpt from an informative sexual health book titled 'Popek Popek' by June Low, a sex educator based in Kuala Lumpur.

Image via Willwin Yang

The youth of today's generation frequently search the Internet for information and read content on various social media platforms

However, not all the content they consume comes from reliable sources. Due to their busy lives, parents also have less time to monitor their children's Internet use. Without tight supervision and control, children can freely surf, watch, or read materials that involve sex.

Moreover, adolescents are susceptible to false information found on social media, in daily conversations with peers, in television shows or reading materials that contain pornographic elements, and in a variety of different sources that are easily accessible at the click of a button.

Image used for illustration purposes only.

Image via Asia One

In conclusion, sex education is an important matter that requires extensive knowledge and the right methods of delivery, especially if we want to reach the younger generation

As a result, Malaysia must make comprehensive preparations, particularly in the area of education. In order to reduce the rate of sexual crimes in our country, not only is community acceptance of sex education very important, public awareness of it also needs to be increased.

Parents and teachers must be made aware to the numerous advantages to being taught about sex at a young age. This includes reducing the occurrence of harmful sexual behaviour, such as having unprotected sexual activity with numerous partners or having sex while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Ultimately, learning about sex might help students have a healthier lifestyle, as well as happier sexual relationships later in life. Sex education as early as school level is also very helpful as an early deterrent against sexual offences, which continue to increase.

This story is a personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the position of SAYS.

You too can submit a story as a SAYS reader by emailing us at [email protected].

Nur Ramizah Safwah is a student at Islamic Science University of Malaysia, under the Faculty of Shariah and Law.

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