By Zura Gigineishvili
Sex Education - all teenagers have a different understanding of this term. In reality, Sex Education, also called Sexual Education, is an instruction of issues that includes emotional relations, human sexual anatomy, sexual activity, reproductive health and others. Sex Education can be provided by parents, guardians or caregivers, but in this article, attention will be drawn to Sex Ed taught as part of a school programe and an individual subject. There have been a lot of debates and thoughts about it, so today we are going to get different people’s thoughts and views, interesting facts and answer the question: Should Sex Education be taught in our school?.
There are several benefits from NASN (National Association of School Nurses) about how can this subject benefit the teenagers:
Healthier relationships in youth;
Reducing unplanned pregnancy
Prevention of STDs;
Preventing Bullying and dating violence.
Global citizens also have a similar list but in addition, they talk about what barriers a school might have, some of them being lack of skilled teachers and parents/guardians not having enough information about what is taught during its course. We had an interview with one of our school’s biology teacher’s, Nia Chachiashvili, who answered some questions about this topic.
(I) - Interviewer; (N) - Ms. Nia Chachiashvili
(I) - Hello! Thank you for agreeing to do an interview about this topic
(N) - Thanks for inviting me for a chat, it’s a really interesting topic to discuss.
(I) - First of all, what is your opinion? Should Sex Education be taught in our school?
(N) - I do think it needs to be studied in our school. Instead of students finding incorrect and scary information on the internet, it’s better to know the scientific basis of it, what it is in reality. Actually we are covering it partially during the reproduction unit of the Biology course. It’s like basic hygiene - students have to know about it. I think It's an important part of our life.
(I) - In one of our lessons previously, you showed the 10th graders a little movie called “Why Sex”, why do you think it was important?
(N) - Because students need to see that it’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s just part of our life and they shouldn’t be hiding it, it’s part of our whole life. A part of a human, and not only human evolution.
(I) - Do you think girls and boys should study this subject individually?
(N) - I think it needs to be studied together, even though people are divided as females and males, both of them should know how for example the female cycle works, I will repeat myself and say that students should not be ashamed of it.
(I) - You have been teaching in this school for a very long time, has there been any idea or an initiative from anyone about this subject to be studied in our school?
(N) - It has been brought up but I personally think it should be a part of some kind of subject, for example if there isn’t time in biology, we could add extra hours. I think it’s mainly connected to Biology.
(I) - One of the problems that a website called Global Citizens talked about was the lack of skilled teachers. Do you think that even you as a biology teacher could be a tutor if this was a subject?
(N) - I could do it as well, I think any biology teacher can. There should also be an ethical and a physiological part to this. A lot of things will be prevented this way
(I) - When do you think this subject should be taught in our school? Which grade?
(N) - Some things should be studied from an earlier age, so everyone knows that we are not born from cabbage or delivered by a bird. There should be specific ways how it will be described.
(I) - Don’t you think students will laugh about this topic?
(N) - Yes but they will laugh like any other topic, every normal person after a moment will understand how serious it is. It can be delivered with humor and still understood.
(I) - Thank you very much.
(N) - Thanks.
There are different kinds of approaches to this subject in parts of the world. For example, the approach in the Philippines is described as “too vague” to be shown and implemented largely to society. In Egypt, knowledge about basic reproductive systems and awareness about how dangerous female genital mutilation can be is taught to students. In India, there is information about AIDS, reproduction and so on. In some European countries it is taught as a part of biology in lower classes but later as a course related to health issues. School psychologist, Keti Mosashvili, answered some of our questions related to this topic.
(I) - Interviewer; (K) - Keti Mosashvili
(I) - Thank you for agreeing to an interview, what is your general view about this topic? Do you think it should be studied in our school?
(K) - Thank you for inviting, I think my view isn’t any different from other psychologists that as biology, chemistry are taught why shouldn’t Sex Education be a subject? In the 21st century, where information can be found anywhere on the internet by clicking one button, we don’t know how reliable the source can be, that is the scary part. If it is taught in school, we will have graphs, survey results and professionals talking about it. It has been a subject since kindergarten so they are used to it. But this term “Sex Education” is scaring a lot of parents because there are a lot of myths about this topic. The word “sex” in general is such a taboo in a lot of countries. Georgia is making progress but it’s still similar, there were thoughts about Sex Education being a subject but it stopped really quickly. Parents should know that it’s beneficial for students. With statistics, in countries where Sex Education is taught sexual transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy is less than in for example countries where it is a taboo. Another thing that I wanted to talk about was preventing child molestation. Teenagers and kids in general should know that people who they don’t know can’t touch them, they can’t offer them candy, it should be explained in a right way.
(I) - Do you think different ages, countries or people should have Sex Education taught differently?
(K) - With the different gender I think there are some things that, for example, only girls should know about, but it should not happen because any of them are ashamed of what their gender has to go through. It’s acceptable. As it pertains to the part of your question about countries, I don’t think so. Everything needs a specialized plan of how the lessons will go, the teacher should not have a taboo. For example doctor and psychologist or a professional teacher.
(I) - Thank you so much.
There are a lot of websites like Global citizen which state that this subject would unite the students and make the workplace more comforting, especially if it’s studies in the early grades. We had an interview about this topic and a question with a Georgian teacher in our school, Ketka Topadze.
(I) - Interviewer; (K) -Ketka Topadze;
(I) - Thank you for agreeing to do this interview. What is your main idea about this subject?
(K) - I think my opinion about this subject is very straight forward. It should be studied in the school, Even though sex is a taboo subject in most of our country, this is partly a consequence of our country's Soviet past. I remember a story of a meeting between Americans who arrived in the USSR and local Soviets who they were meeting. During this meeting, there was a question from an American on the topic of sex and one of women suddenly stood up and said “There is no sex in the Soviet Union!”. The Americans were surprised and asked “Then how do you have children?”. See how stigmatized sex was during the Soviet regime? That sort of thinking hasn't disappeared yet! Especially in teenage years for children it is interesting how a variety of things happen, what processes happen? how can they deal with the changes and obstacles in this sense.
(I) - In which grade do you think Sex Education should be taught?
(K) - Maybe first steps in the early age but seriously and in detail from ninth grade, that is when the real journey for teenagers begins, when they become curious about a lot of new things. Students will be lost if they are not informed about it by the school and they start searching on the internet.
(I) - Do you think it would be better if Sex Education was taught from early ages? Or if it was generally taught at all? Why?
(K) - Honestly, I always want students to understand other people's struggles and what each gender or person is going through so that's why this as a lesson is a perfect opportunity. It will be interesting and informative as well.
(I) - Thank you so much for joining me for an interview.
(K) - Thank you.
In conclusion Sex Education in opinion of the internet and our school teachers and psychologists should not only be taught, but it is important to learn and know everything about your development. There are a lot of skeptics who view Sex Ed as something really innapropriate for teenagers, which is not true, it is just a lesson where students learn everything about their body and how it works.
Edited by Iviko Sakvarelidze