Scope and Teaching Approach of Sexuality Education in Schools

Scope and Teaching Approach of Sexuality Education in Schools

Abstinence before marriage is the best course of action for teenagers. Sexuality Education teaches students the possible consequences of sexual activity and that pre-marital sex is not desirable as there are inherent risks.

To reduce the incidence of STIs/HIV and teenage pregnancies among our young, a practical approach is adopted. Sexuality Education teaches students facts about contraception, repercussions of casual sex, and the prevention of diseases from a health perspective. This is in addition to teaching teenagers about building healthy relationships and how to say “no” to sexual advances.

Sexuality Education teaches students what homosexuality is, and the current legal provisions concerning homosexual acts in Singapore.

Teachers and MOE-approved external trainers should respect that they are in a position of trust with respect to students and ensure that schools are not used as arenas for advocacy on controversial issues.

Sexuality Education in the School Curriculum

The MOE Sexuality Education 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) programme1 and the Empowered Teens (eTeens)2 programme, which are complementary, are staple Sexuality Education Programmes conducted under Character and Citizenship Education. Sexuality Education is also delivered through subjects such as Science (for primary and secondary levels), Health Education (from Primary 5 and 6), Form Teacher Guidance Period or FTGP (for primary level) and Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) (for primary and secondary levels).

The Sexuality Education curriculum is conducted at the Primary 5 and 6 levels through to the Junior College (JC) / Centralised Institute (CI) level. The themes covered at each stage will be revisited and discussed in greater depth at the next level of education. The contents are grouped into five main themes:

  • Human Development: the onset of puberty and its psychological and emotional impact;
  • Interpersonal Relationships: the skills and values for healthy and rewarding relationships, including those with members of the opposite sex;
  • Sexual Health: the information and attitudes to promote sexual health and avoid unwanted consequences of sexual behaviour; the information and attitudes to promote sexual health and avoid unwanted consequences of sexual behaviour;
  • Sexual Behaviour: expressions of sexuality and their effects; and
  • Culture, Society and Law: social and cultural influences and the impact of legal positions on sexual identity and sexual expressions.

These themes are delivered through the following programmes and subjects:

  • Growing Years (GY) programme1 (for primary, secondary and post-secondary levels);
  • eTeens programme2 (for Secondary 3 and Junior College/Centralised Institute Year 1);
  • Science (for primary and secondary levels);
  • Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) ; and
  • Form Teacher Guidance Period or FTGP (for primary level);

Growing Years (GY) programme

The Growing Years (GY) programme addresses the subject of human sexuality from a holistic perspective, involving the physical, emotional, social, and ethical aspects of sexuality. The topics in the GY programme include building rewarding and responsible relationships, dating, going steady and marriage, issues in sexual health and behaviours, consequences of teenage sexual activity and pregnancies, and influence of the media.

Abstinence before marriage is taught as the best course of action for teenagers to protect them from STIs and unwanted pregnancies. The GY programme is offered at the Primary 5 and 6, lower secondary, upper secondary and junior college/centralised institute levels according to the students’ developmental needs.

For more information, download: Growing Years (GY) Programme (112kb.pdf)

eTeens Programme

eTeens, a STIs/HIV prevention programme, is developed by the Health Promotion Board in collaboration with MOE. The programme provides students with accurate information on STIs, HIV and protection from a health perspective. This programme upholds family values and promotes the key message that “Abstinence before marriage is the best course of action for teenagers”. Students learn that the impact of STIs/HIV extends beyond themselves and involves their families.

Students are also taught skills such as decision-making, assertiveness and how to say “no” to sexual advances and negative peer pressure. The eTeens programme aims to empower students to make wise, informed and sensible decisions.

eTeens is taught in two segments, namely a one-hour mass talk and classroom-based lesson(s) to Secondary 3 and a 45 minutes mass talk to Junior College/Centralised Institute Year 1 students.

For more information, download: eTeens Programme (50kb.pdf)

Science

The concept of reproduction and inheritance is introduced in the Science syllabus at upper primary level. These topics are elaborated further in the Science syllabus for lower secondary and the Biology syllabus for upper secondary students.

Under these secondary level syllabi, topics on the reproductive systems, menstrual cycle, contraception, STIs, as well as evaluation of the consequences and issues relating to abortion and pre-marital sex are also covered.

For more information, download: Science (72kb.pdf)

Character and Citizenship Education (CCE)

The focus of Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) is to inculcate values and build competencies in our students so that they become individuals and citizens of good character that will contribute to their communities. The CCE syllabus is founded on six core values; namely, Respect, Responsibility, Resilience, Integrity, Care and Harmony.

Through the use of stories, case studies and real-life situations, CCE teaches these values and guides students to apply them to real life - within the domains of self, family, school, community, nation and the world.

For Sexuality Education, CCE builds the foundation for respectful, responsible and caring relationships through fostering positive attitudes towards self and others.

To find out more about CCE, download:

Form Teacher Guidance Period

The Form Teacher Guidance Period (FTGP) was introduced in all primary schools in 2011. The allocated one period per week is for Form Teachers to conduct interactive activities and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons. At the lower primary levels, students learn how to protect themselves from sexual abuse. They are also taught to seek help when they are sexually threatened or abused.

Programmes by External Providers

External providers may have the expertise that can help schools achieve the goals of Sexuality Education. As such, schools may tap on relevant expertise and community resources approved by MOE to supplement the school’s existing Sexuality Education programmes.

Schools must ensure that any sexuality education programmes run by MOE-approved external providers comply with the MOE framework for Sexuality Education.

Periodic audits on sexuality education programmes are carried out by MOE to ensure schools are compliant with guidelines on the engagement of external providers.

External providers interested in conducting sexuality education programmes in schools can visit the Information for External Providers webpage for more information.

Footnote

  1. The Growing Years programme is for Primary 5-6, lower secondary, upper secondary and JC/CI levels.
  2. eTeens is a programme developed by the Health Promotion Board in collaboration with MOE for Secondary 3 and JC/CI 1 students.