Sex Education at the Primary level

Sex education is education in schools on the subject of sexual activity and sexual relationships, according to the Collins Dictionary. Primary school consists of children from as young as 6 years old to 12 years old. How can we implement sexual education in the primary school curriculum when most are not physically, mentally and emotionally developed to deal with the complexity of this sensitive information? At this delicate stage, curiosity is peaked which will then lead to experimentation, so why would we add fuel to the fire by corrupting their young minds.

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Often times schools’ teachings aren’t necessarily coinciding with the moral or religious beliefs of the child’s family and in turn, it may be seen as an infringement of parental duties.  Also, teachers are not always adequately trained to teach sexual education and may violate their own beliefs or morals on the subject matter rather than continuing with the facts.

Freud’s psychosexual theory states at the age of primary school level, children are at a stage termed the Latent stage, where sexual feelings are inactive. Not saying it is absent, but sexual energy is in turn directed into other areas such as social interactions and intellectual pursuits. Wouldn’t sex education prematurely induce the genital stage banked for the start of puberty, when the reproductive organs develop?

Black quotes img-thingWouldn’t persons at that genital stage be better able to identify more with the sex education curriculum and, with the necessary information, arm themselves in the event they wish to engage in sexual activity?

Instead of being taught about STDs and sexual activity, primary school students’ main aim should be to achieve their psychosocial industry vs. inferiority stage goals, which entails the development of virtues such as self confidence, competence and success.

Only children themselves know how to tend to their changing desires and bodies regardless of guidance. It’s inevitable that children are maturing at a faster rate and are being exposed to increasing amounts of sexual content, but introducing sex education to six year olds is as inappropriate as them watching a subtle sex hinted show on television. How can you possibly even fathom to teach children about sex? By the use of cartoons? Or animals? How do you really tell a group of 7 year olds that sex leads to pregnancy, or STD’s?

Another point is that children are being exposed to more sexual content nowadays, so the gradual introduction of sex education topics should occur. However, other means which are seen as harmless can be introduced at the primary school level, such as topics about the reproductive system and physical health care. By the time they reach age 12 it would be more age-appropriate to introduce topics of greater scope such as sexual orientation and different sexual lifestyles. This will prepare them for the onslaught of sexual issues at the high school level and provide more concrete foundations at grade 6.

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There is already a grave issue with crime, violence and debt to say the least that the country faces. Not to mention an increase in teen pregnancies, as 18% of children born in Jamaica are affiliated to teen mothers a report by the 2008 Jamaica Reproductive Health survey states. Why would one want to lower the bar by adding child pregnancies? The introduction of sex education will inform students of the repercussions of sex but won’t solve the problem. As a wise tale has it, ‘every mickle mek a muckle’ and at the rate at which the future generation children mature, or at least perceive maturity, we will see a vast decrease in the age at which kids are having kids and every instance of underage pregnancies will inadvertently add up.

It all leads back to the primary agent of socialization, the parent, or guardian; it’s the duty of these caregivers to instill their morals into their children. Majority of children have at least one parent or guardian in their lives, so there should be no excuse that they take measures to ensure that their child receives the proper guidance.

Prevention is better than cure, why not prevent than attempt to instill measures to ‘fix’ the matter at hand.

By Alexandra Daley

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