Infosheet on Holistic Approach to Sexuality Education in Schools
Sexuality Education in schools helps students understand the physiological, social and emotional changes they experience as they mature; develop healthy and rewarding relationships; and make wise, informed and responsible decisions on sexuality matters in their growing up years. It also helps students develop respect for themselves and others, and it is premised on the family as the basic unit of society.
It is named Sexuality Education (SEd), rather than Sex Education, to emphasise the holistic approach that has been taken, which includes the emotional, social, intellectual and ethical aspects, in addition to the physical aspect of sexuality. The child is always the focus of SEd, which is anchored on the values of love, respect and responsibility. This approach and emphasis of SEd has remained unchanged.
The home, school and community need to work in close partnership to ensure SEd is effectively delivered to our children in their growing up years.
Sexuality Education Curriculum
The SEd curriculum is a holistic and secular one that aims to meet students’ developmental needs at the different stages. It is part of the larger school curriculum. The Growing Years (GY) and Empowered Teens (eTeens) are the main SEd programmes. In addition, SEd is also delivered through subjects such as Science, Health Education, Civics and Moral Education.
The Growing Years (GY) programme is first conducted at the Primary 5 level through to the junior college or centralised institute level. It provides a specific focus for students at the different levels as well as addresses issues related to media influence, cyber relationships, dating and romantic relationships. Only specially selected and trained Sexuality Education teachers may teach the GY programme.
Complementing GY in catering to emerging trends and pupils’ developmental needs is the eTeens programme. The programme is jointly developed by the Ministry of Health, Health Promotion Board and the Ministry of Education (MOE). It is a sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention programme that aims to provide students with knowledge about STIs/HIV, teaches protection from a health perspective, and equips students with life skills to say “no” to pre-marital sex.
The GY and eTeens programmes have been refreshed to ensure that they remain relevant and address emerging trends. They also provide parents and schools with greater clarity on the policies and guiding principles of SEd.
SEd is implemented in schools based on these key guiding principles:
- Parents play the primary role in the sexuality education of their children, and are responsible for the teaching and transmission of values on sex and sexuality. As such, parents can exercise their choice to opt their children out of the school’s SEd programme.
- The teaching of knowledge and skills in MOE SEd is integrated with the teaching of values which reflect those of Singapore’s society.
- SEd is premised on the family as the basic unit of society. It also promotes abstinence before marriage as the best option for our youth.
- Students and teachers will respect the different attitudes, values and beliefs of our multi-racial and multi-religious society.
- Only specially-selected teachers are trained to teach MOE SEd.
Information for Parents
Parents may find more information on the SEd in schools through the following:
- MOE internet website on Sexuality Education
- Schools’ websites