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Sex Education in the Philippines LRP

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Thesis Statement: Unwanted teenage pregnancy, as well as STDs are very common in the Philippine society, and by teaching sex education in schools, students will be able to develop the necessary skills and knowledge that may affect their sexual behavior and view on sexuality in the context of family and community values.

I. Implementing sex education in the Philippines becomes a debatable topic on its effect on students. A. Problems and Issues on sex is present in the Philippines. 1. Fourteen to sixteen million adolescent girls between fifteen and nineteen years old give birth every year and pregnancy-related deaths are the leading causes of death for girls at such young ages. 2. Because of HIV/AIDS epidemic, the spread of STDs is a major concern of the Philippine government. B. Sex education refers to giving knowledge to students with regards to reproduction, sexual health, responsibilities associated with sex, the concept of abstinence and birth control methods. 1. Sexual health concerns related to sexual orientation.

2. Sexual reproduction informs students to make responsible decisions and practices regarding reproductive behavior. 3. Open the mind of the students to the possible consequences and the risks that they are taking in engaging sex. II. There have been many arguments on the implementation of sex education in the Philippines. A. The council of the Catholic Church believed that the task of telling children about sex and relationships should be up to the parents not to the teachers, and that teaching sex education in schools, especially to young children, would result to many more problems. B. Parents are very uncomfortable in teaching their children about sex education. C. The teachers in schools feel embarrassed teaching sex education to students. D. The pros of teaching sex education on students.

1. Prevention is better than cure; students will learn that abstinence is the perfect way to avoid unplanned pregnancy and STDs. 2. Train students on using different methods of birth control. 3. Reliable information on sexually transmitted diseases will be given to students. E. The cons of teaching sex education on students.

1. Students may not take sex education seriously.
2. Religious beliefs do not allow children to be exposed to sex in such a young age.
3. Students may misinterpret the sex education and curiosity may flourish. III. Sex education should be taught in schools. It may affect sexual behavior such as self esteem, perceived social norms, and help the students develop a positive view of sexuality in the context of family and community values.

Sex always seems to catch attention. Whenever the word “sex” appears in magazines, newspapers, television and other media, people tend to pay attention. It is not because they simply feel the urge to read or watch sex but perhaps they want to clarify and discover the truth about this matter. This research paper will discuss the issues and problems on sex education in the Philippines, what sex education really means, the arguments on both sides of the debate over implementing sex education, and it’s positive and negative effects on students. The objective of this paper is to prove that by teaching sex education in schools, students will be able to develop the necessary skills and knowledge that may affect their sexual behavior and view on sexuality in the context of family and community values. In liberal democracies, sex is viewed as a normal activity for both adults and teenagers. Whether if they are married, in a relationship or in their high school years.

In the Philippines, it’s very different. Whenever someone says the word “sex”, they are labeled as “rude”. Filipino’s directly associate the word “sex” to “vulgarity” as they are exposed to this kind of interpretation. The Philippines is a society with a stronghold of moral standards and conservatism. The parents rarely explain what sex is to their children and the teenagers may possibly only encounter the word sex when they meet their friends, classmates, neighbors and the internet. They have too little information about the subject that brought out their curiosity and eagerness to know. If the family, as the basic social unit and the ideal source of first learning, is not capable of providing sex education, then it would be better if the government takes the responsibility in order to address these needed knowledge and values. It would be difficult for the children to understand things that are hidden and not well explained. Sexuality education begins at home. Parents and caregivers are—and ought to be—the primary sexuality educators of their children. Teachable moments—opportunities to discuss sexuality issues with children—occur on a daily basis. From the moment of birth, children learn about love, touch, and relationships.

Infants and toddlers learn about sexuality when their parents talk to them, dress them, show affection, and teach them the names of the parts of their bodies. As children grow into adolescence, they continue to receive messages about sexual behaviors, attitudes, and values from their families. Young people also learn about sexuality from other sources such as friends, television, music, books, advertisements and the Internet. And, they frequently learn through planned opportunities in faith communities, community-based agencies, and schools. We cannot deny that we are in the state of adolescence, whereas we have these raging hormones that are easily stimulated by uncensorable knowledge from non-school, techno-social environment. Such stimulation could possibly bring us all to the world of undesirable consequences. The Young Adult Fertility Survey conducted by University of the Philippines Population Institute said that there’s a significant percentage of early to late adolescents who are already into premarital sex. This result reflects our society today.

One of the most-discussed sections of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill is the implementation of sex education in school curriculums. Under the bill, parents will have the option to let their children attend sex education classes, which will teach teenagers about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), responsible parenthood, and family planning methods, among other topics related to reproductive health. Sex education includes sexual health or reproductive health, which addresses the reproductive processes, functions and system at all stages of life. Reproductive health, therefore, implies that people are able to have a responsible, satisfying and safer sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so. It will inform the students to make responsible decisions and practices regarding reproductive behavior, and will open their minds to the possible consequences and the risks that they are taking in engaging sex.

A World Bank study reveals that the Philippines is among the top 10 countries with an escalating population of teenage mothers. Seven out of 10 Filipino mothers are adolescents aged 19 years old and below. As of 2010, there are at least four million young mothers in the Philippines and at least 10 mothers die during childbirth every day, based on statistics by the United Nations Family Planning Association (UNFPA). Premarital sex among youth is also on the rise. From 23.2% of youth that have engaged in premarital sex in 2002, it increased to 32%, amounting to about 6.2 million youth in 2013. 78% of first instances of premarital sex were unprotected, not only against unwanted pregnancy but also on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). BODY

The planned implementation of sex education in schools has started a great deal of debates in the Philippines. Since the proposed incorporation of sex education in elementary and high school curriculum pushed by Education Secretary Mona Valisno, various groups have started to voice out their opinion either agreeing or disagreeing with the said notion. Many of the inhabitants of the Philippines, a country known to be the center of Catholicism in Asia and a very conservative country sees this proposal as an aggressive act that will result to catastrophic damages. Moreover, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), a governing body of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines believe that such act will promote pre-marital sex and propagate immoral ideas and virtues. As the data provided by the Forum for Family Planning and Development Inc. show, there are two million teenage Filipina girls who are pregnant at this moment while more than four million Filipinos aged 15-19 have already had sexual intercourse. Pregnancy during the school years is particularly problematic because of its association with school dropout (Kirby, 2007).

Thus, such figures will show you the possibility of future increase in abortion and over-population because of unwanted pregnancy, not only that, there will be more drop-outs (mostly in women) among high school students which will also increase the number of the out of school youth and will inevitably cause a big problem in the Philippine economy, a state classified as a third world country. Moreover, not knowing proper and safe sex will also increase the number of AIDS victims and many other sex-related sickness , it’s a fact that most male teenagers involve themselves into unsafe sex such as going to bars and sleeping with women they don’t even know without using any protection. Just having lack of knowledge about sex can lead into a very disturbing domino effect.

Sex education will teach teenage Filipinos safe sex and is a very effective tool in fighting the very prevalent problems stated above. Sex education promotes ideas such as the right time to marry, the burdens of being a single/teenage mother and the fine line that separates love and lust. Their very main argument of the church is that sex education will promote premarital sex to teenagers and will lessen the degree of morality among Filipino teenagers. As to the promotion of premarital sex, sex education is not the promoter but is the solution for it, the intention is not to encourage young ones to engage into sex but to propagate learnings instead. Teenagers and children even before reaching 10 years of age already have an idea on how to do sex even without sex education so this problem must not be blamed on the proposal of sex education; such acts are learned mostly in watching TVs, internet pornography which is very rampant and even sharing of experiences from peers. No matter how we say that we are in a conservative country, it’s a fact that children even in young age already know how to use their organs.

Accepting that there is a problem is the first step in solving it; sex-education will open the minds of the teenagers on the effects of engaging in pre-marital sex and unsafe sex and will be a daily reminder that there is proper time and way to do things. Also, the church argues with the reasoning of morality but morality is not the issue here, it’s the health and the future of the young Filipinos, the state must approve and impose acts and rules just by looking if it is for the welfare of the people and not if it is moral or immoral according to the church; it is clearly stated in Article 2 Section 6 of the Philippine Constitution (1987) that “the separation of church and state shall be inviolable”. But as long as highly influential institutions, like the Church, are there, willing to guide and give assistance, the state will not forget how to draw the line between what is moral and not. Many proponents of abstinence-only programs have strong religious affiliations and believe that teaching young adults about contraception will cause them to initiate sexual intercourse before marriage (Eisenberg, Bernat, Bearinger, & Resnick, 2008; Mckay, Pietrusiak, & Holowaty, 1998).

The problem is that many young people are initiating sexual intercourse without contraceptive knowledge, and thus, become at risk for STIs and unwanted pregnancies. In fact, research has found that abstinence-only programs are not generally effective, and comprehensive programs that include abstinence components show positive results (Kirby, 2007). Numerous studies and evaluations published in peer-reviewed literature have found that comprehensive education about sexuality—programs that teach teens about both abstinence and contraception/disease prevention—is an effective strategy to help young people delay their initiation of sexual intercourse. Reviews of published evaluations of sexuality education, HIV-prevention, and adolescent pregnancy-prevention programs have consistently found that they: (1) do not encourage teens to start having sexual intercourse, (2) do not increase the frequency with which teens have intercourse, and (3)do not increase the number of sexual partners teens have. Instead these programs can: (1) delay the onset of intercourse, (2) reduce the frequency of intercourse, (3) reduce the number of sexual partners, and (4) increase condom or contraceptive use.

A majority of parents believes that some sort of comprehensive sexual education program should be taught in the schools, ranging from 89%–95% approval; this support has been found across all demographic categories of parents (Eisenberg et al., 2008; Kirby, 2007; McKay et al., 1998). Many parents who support a comprehensive sexual education believe that most topics regarding sexual health should be first introduced either in the primary grades or during middle school (Eisenberg et al., 2008; McKay et al., 1998). Many parents may believe that the schools have the primary responsibility for educating their children about sexual health, and thus take a passive role. In addition, they may believe they lack knowledge or are not at ease discussing sexual health knowledge with their child (Byers, Sears, & Weaver, 2008).

They may also not know the best approach to having a dialogue about sexual health decisions. Some have argued that open communication about sexual activity with children will initiate sexual activities at a younger age (Bersamin et al., 2008). However, research has shown that parental communication with the child, particularly between a mother and daughter, will not only delay sexual intercourse and create negative attitudes regarding pregnancy, but also decrease the likelihood of the youth having unprotected sex and decrease the number of sexual partners (Parsons, Butler, Kocik, Norman, & Nuss, 1998; Sunder, Ramos, Short, & Rosenthal, 2006). Thus, the content and quality of parent–child communication may have an effect on delaying or accelerating the time line for sexual initiation (Bersamin et al., 2008). …..

Individuals and agencies at the federal, state, and local level—from state lawmakers to school board committees to classroom teachers—are all involved in the decisions that ultimately determine what young people learn in the classroom. The federal government does not have a direct role in local sexuality education. Instead, it leaves such control to state and local bodies. However, because the federal government does control funding for many educational programs, it can influence programs in local schools and communities. States are much more directly involved in decisions about sexuality education. States can mandate that sexuality education be taught, require schools to teach about STDs or HIV/AIDS, set state-wide guidelines for topics, choose curricula, and approve textbooks.

The majority of decisions about education policy, however, are made at the local level. Whether or not there is a state course or content mandate in place, local administrators may establish their own mandates. These local mandates may expand upon but cannot violate state mandates. If a state mandates that schools provide information on contraception and STD prevention, a local community cannot choose to implement a solely abstinence-only- until-marriage program that does not contain this information. In contrast, if a state prohibits schools from providing contraception and STD prevention information in favor of an abstinence-only-until-marriage message, schools cannot choose to include that information in their programs.

On the local level, decisions are made by school boards, administrators, and teachers. Many districts have also created special advisory committees to review the materials used in school health and sexuality education courses. Most often these committees make recommendations to the school board which the board can either accept or reject. Teachers, clergy, public health officials, parents, and students often serve on such advisory committees. The National Association of School Psychologists’ (NASP) official stand on sexual education is that it should be taught in schools to help young people
make healthy decisions regarding sex throughout their lives. Accordingly, school psychologists have a responsibility to use their expertise to facilitate these programs. Without a comprehensive sexual education program facilitated by a professional who is educated in these issues, young adults will often base their decisions on misinformation from peers and Internet sources (NASP, 2003).

Although sex education is often discussed and evaluated in terms of its role in reducing adolescent pregnancy and STD rates, its primary goal is broader: to give young people the opportunity to receive information, examine their values and learn relationship skills that will enable them to resist becoming sexually active before they are ready, to prevent unprotected intercourse and to help young people become responsible, sexually healthy adults. Young people have the right to lead healthy lives. Providing them with honest, age appropriate comprehensive sexual health education is a key part in helping them take personal responsibility for their health and well-being. That’s why sex education programs need to be informed by evidence as well as include all the information and skills young people need to make healthy decisions.

Providing young people with the skills and tools to make healthy decisions about sex and relationships is far more effective than denying them information and simply telling them not to have sex. Sex education is not just about sex. It’s about understanding how sex can affect our lives. It includes other sensitive issues like sexual health, sexual reproduction, sexuality, responsibilities associated with sex, the concept of abstinence, birth control methods and others that parents often feel uncomfortable talking with their children. Sex education assist young people in understanding a positive view of sexuality, provide them with information and skills for taking care of their sexual health, and help them make sound decisions now and in the future. Its intent is not to encourage teenagers to engage into sex, instead to propagate learning.

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