Sex education in schools needs an update, campaign groups say
School sex education lessons should be about more than condoms and the pill, and should also tackle having fun, gender diversity and sexual boundaries, student groups, sexual health organisations and other campaign groups said on Monday.
In total, 37 organisations signed up for the manifesto, which was initiated by the Rutgers sexual health centre.
Sex education at school misses out on key information and needs reform, the organisations say. ‘Youngsters give their sex education classes a score of 5.8 out of 10 and this has to change,’ Rutgers director Marieke van der Plas said.
Schools have been required to teach sexual development since 2012, but it is up to teachers themselves how to go about this.
‘Youngsters are happy about the lessons on preventing STDs and hiv, but sexuality is about more than that,’ Rutgers spokesman Luc Lauwers told NOS radio. ‘It is about enjoying being together, being respectful and sexual diversity,’ he said.
The ongoing debate about the transgender law and the sexual harassment scandal surrounding The Voice television talent show do ‘make it into the classroom’, he said. ‘It is important that you can talk about these issues in a sensible and respectful way, because it all helps with sexual development.’
Research from Rutgers published in 2017 found that 50% of Dutch teenagers have had full sex for the first time by the time they reach the age of 18.6 and that few younger teenagers are having sexual experiences. The agency has recently started researching an update.
The Netherlands also has one of the lowest rates of teenage abortions and motherhood in the world.
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