Forum: Sexuality education current and in step with societal trends

In her Forum letter, Ms Tanya Ragupathi called for a review of sexuality education (Relook sexuality education in schools, March 6).

Contrary to perception, schools do not just teach students about sexually transmitted infections, or the detrimental effects of premarital sex and teenage pregnancy. This is part of a much larger curriculum.

Our schools focus on equipping our students with the right knowledge and socio-emotional skills to help them develop positive self-identity and healthy relationships, and make responsible decisions on sexuality matters.

The topics we teach range from learning about personal safety and self-protection in primary schools, to building healthy relationships, developing positive self-image, managing peer influence and protecting oneself from risks, such as grooming and dating violence, in secondary schools.

They will learn how to seek help from trusted adults, and that they have the right to be treated with respect.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) reviews sexuality education regularly to ensure its relevance.

We have recently completed our review of the Character and Citizenship Education (CCE 2021) to strengthen the focus on moral values and cyber wellness, which affect the students' understanding of matters concerning sexuality.

There will also be greater emphasis on the importance of respecting boundaries - both online and offline, understanding of consent, and responsible decision-making grounded on sound values.

The subsequent discussions following Ms Ragupathi's letter showed that this is an issue where parents have very differing views, all of which we should respect.

Ultimately, for sexuality education to be effective, we need to work closely with parents to impart the right values and provide guidance to our young.

Tan Chen Kee

Divisional Director

Student Development Curriculum Division

Ministry of Education