September 03, 2020
Parent-School Partnership Critical in Sexuality Education
We refer to the letters by Mdm Shahrany Hassan ("Include topic of consent in schools' sex education syllabus", 20 August 2020) and Ms Grace Chua Siew Hwee ("Better to teach kids to say no to sex", 21 August 2020).
Mdm Shahrany suggested that Sexuality Education in our schools should go beyond topics like "abstinence and the use of contraception". Ms Chua on the other hand suggested it would be better to keep the message focused on abstinence. We appreciate that parents will have diverse views on this issue. That is why parent-school partnership is critical.
Sexuality Education in our schools currently covers three broad areas. First, we aim to equip students with the social-emotional skills to understand themselves, maintain healthy relationships, and make responsible decisions on sexuality matters.
Second, we teach students to apply these skills to support their growth and development in age-appropriate manner. For example, in primary schools, students are taught about personal safety and protection of oneself from sexual exploitation and abuse. They also learn about cyber-safety and how to avoid engaging strangers in conversations online. In secondary schools and at the pre-university levels, there is a greater focus on how to build healthy relationships. This includes helping students better understand what it means to respect boundaries for self and others. They are also taught about the social-emotional and legal consequences if they overstep these boundaries. In addition, they are taught how to seek help from trusted adults – such as their parents, teachers and school counsellors – should they require additional support or when they think that their peers are being exposed to harmful influences.
Finally, we emphasise the importance of strong partnerships between parents and schools on Sexuality Education. In this regard, we will continue to work with parents in maintaining close relationships with their children, imparting values, and providing home-based guidance.
Mrs Tan Chen Kee
Divisional Director, Student Development Curriculum Division, MOE