COMMITTEE ON PETITIONS
Hundred and Thirty-fifth Report
Petition praying for national debate and evolving consensus on the implementation of the policy for introduction of sex education in
the Schools and holding back its introduction until then
(Presented to Hon’ble Chairman, Rajya Sabha on 2nd April, 2009)
RAJYA SABHA SECRETARIAT
“Education which does not mould character is absolutely worthless.”
“…..the sex education that I stand for must have for its object the conquest and sublimation of the sex passion. Such education should automatically serve to bring home to children the essential distinction between man and brute, to make them realize that it is man’s special privilege and pride to be gifted with the faculties of head and heart both; that he is a thinking no less than a feeling animal…..”
|COMPOSITION OF THE COMMITTEE||
| REPORT Chapter-I
1. Comments of Ministry of HRD on the Petition
2. Oral evidence of petitioners and others
3. Press Communiqué
4. Study visits of the Committee
5. Oral evidence of Secretary, Ministry of HRD and other Officers
6. Oral evidence of Chief Secretary, and other Officers of Govt. of NCT Delhi.
7. Additional submissions by petitioners and others
1. Genesis and Conceptualisation of AEP
2. Implementation of AEP
3. Role of various Government agencies in implementation of AEP
1. Response of State Governments to AEP
2. Response of Stakeholders
3. Review of AEP syllabus
Examination of subject by Committee
|Petition jointly signed by Ms. Asha Sharma, a resident of Karol Bagh (New Delhi) and Ms. Pratiba Naithani, a resident of Borivali (Mumbai) praying for national debate and evolving consensus on the implementation of the policy for introduction of sex education in the CBSE affiliated Schools and holding back its introduction until then.||
|Comments on the petition received from the Ministry of Human Resource Development.||
|Minutes of the meetings of the Committee||
* to be appended at printing stage
COMPOSITION OF THE COMMITTEE (2006-07)
1. Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu – Chairman
2. Shri Nandi Yellaiah
3. Shri V. Narayanasamy
4. Prof. Alka Balram Kshatriya
5. Smt. Maya Singh
6. Shri Virendra Bhatia
7. Shri Moinul Hassan
8. Shri Thanga Tamil Selvan
9. Shri Subash Prasad Yadav
10. Shri Dinesh Trivedi
COMPOSITION OF THE COMMITTEE (2007-08)
1. Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu. – Chairman
2. Shri Nandi Yellaiah
3. Shri V. Narayanasamy
4. Prof. Alka Balram Kshatriya
5. Smt. Maya Singh
6. Shri Virendra Bhatia
7. Shri Moinul Hassan
8. Shri Thanga Tamil Selvan
9. Shri Subash Prasad Yadav
10.Shri Dinesh Trivedi
COMPOSITION OF THE COMMITTEE (2008-09)
1. Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu. – Chairman
2. Shri Vijay J. Darda
3. Shri Dhram Pal Sabharwal
4. Shri Rama Chandra Khuntia
5. Smt. Maya Singh
6. Shri Virendra Bhatia
7. Shri Shyamal Chakraborty
8. Shri N.R. Govindarajar
9. Shri Subash Prasad Yadav
10. Shri Sabir Ali
Shri Tapan Chatterjee, Joint Secretary
Shri J. Sundriyal, Joint Director
Shri Rakesh Naithani, Deputy Director
Shri Ashok Kumar Sahoo, Assistant Director
Shri Goutam Kumar, Committee Officer
P R E F A C E
I, the Chairman of the Committee on Petitions, having been authorised by the Committee to submit the Report on its behalf, do hereby present this Hundred and Thirty-fifth Report of the Committee on the petition jointly signed by Ms. Asha Sharma, a resident of Karol Bagh (New Delhi) and Ms. Pratiba Naitthani, a resident of Borivali (Mumbai) praying for national debate and evolving consensus on the implementation of the policy for introduction of sex education in the CBSE affiliated Schools and holding back its introduction until then (Appendix-I).
2.0 The petition was admitted by Hon’ble Chairman, Rajya Sabha on 9th August, 2007 under the provisions of Chapter X of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Council of States. In accordance with Rule 145 of the said Rules the petition was presented to the Council on 16th August, 2007 by Miss Anusuiya Uikey, M.P. after which it stood referred to the Committee on Petitions for examination and report in terms of Rule 150 ibid.
2.1 The issues raised in the petition have wider ramifications on socio-cultural milieu of our society which was examined by the Committee in nine sittings spread over a period of one year and five months. In its sitting held on 24th September, 2007 the co-petitioners, Smt. Asha Sharma and Ms. Pratiba Naitthani and other experts/ activists namely, Shri Joginer Singh, Former Director, CBI, Shri J.S. Rajput, Former Director, NCERT, Shri O.P. Gupta, Ex-Ambassador and Shri Dinanath Batra, National Coordinator, Shiksha Bachao Andolan, appeared before the Committee. These witnesses again appeared before the Committee in its next meeting held on 11th October, 2007 alongwith Jainacharya Shrimad Vijay Ratnasundarsureswarji, Shri Vidyasagar Verma, Former Ambassador, Prof. Ravindranath Paul, Ex-Vice Chancellor (Retd.) Jawaharlal Nehru University, Shri Anil Arya, National President, Arya Yuva Mahasammelan, Shri B.P. Khandelwal, Ex-Chairman, CBSE and Shri Bhupendra Yadav, Advocate, Supreme Court. The Committee heard the Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development (Department of School Education and Literacy) on 27th December, 2007 and 23rd January, 2008. The Committee heard the Chief Secretary and Education Secretary of the Government of NCT on the petition on 21st February, 2008. Meanwhile, the Committee visited Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad from 22 to 26 October, 2007 and Kolkata, Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram from 3 to 8 February, 2008 and interacted with Parents/Teachers Associations/Educationists/NGOs/ representatives of religious groups and Chief Secretaries and Education Secretaries of the respective State Governments on the petition. It considered the draft Report in its sittings held on 17th March, 2009 and adopted the same.
3. The Committee while formulating its observations/recommendations, has relied on the written comments of the concerned Ministry, experts, activists, oral evidence of witnesses – official and nonofficial, submissions of Members, interactions with others.
4. For facility of reference and convenience, observations and recommendations of the Committee have been printed in bold letters in the body of the Report.
NEW DELHI M. VENKAIAH NAIDU
March 17, 2009 Chairman
Phalguna 26, 1930 (Saka) Committee on Petitions
A petition dated 17th May, 2007 addressed to the Council of States (Rajya Sabha), jointly signed by Smt. Asha Sharma r/o Karol Bagh, New Delhi and Ms. Pratiba Naitthani r/o Borivali, Mumbai and countersigned by Miss Anusuiya Uikey, Member, Rajya Sabha, praying for putting on hold the proposal to introduce sex education in CBSE affiliated Schools, was received in the Secretariat. As per established procedure, the petition was referred to the concerned Ministry i.e. Ministry of Human Resource Development for their comments. The comments received from the Ministry were scrutinized by the Secretariat in the light of the issues raised by the petitioners and placed before Hon’ble Chairman, Rajya Sabha to enable him to decide the admissibility of the petition. Hon’ble Chairman admitted the petition on 9th August, 2007. The petition was presented to the Rajya Sabha on 16th August, 2007 after which it stood referred to the Committee for examination and report.
1.1 Issues raised by the petitioners: The petitioners had in their petition contended that the decision of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development to impart sex education to the students of Class-VI onwards in CBSE affiliated schools, had shocked the conscience of all the culture loving people of the country. The primary consideration behind the decision was stated to be ‘AIDS driven’ as such education was believed to help prevent sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS. The curriculum and the training programme for teachers had been got prepared from the UNICEF supplied material in co-ordination with National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO). The outlook of UNICEF contents of teaching material for teachers, was mainly west oriented. The material that was prepared for sex education in the schools in our country, as reported in the media, was quite frightening which, if implemented, would promote promiscuity of the worst kind.
1.2 The petitioners had further submitted that the proposed move of the Government to include sex education in the school curriculum would strike at the root of the cultural fabric of our society that had been nourished over the millennia. Every country has a social milieu and culture of its own and the programmes which are western oriented cannot be implanted in our system in toto. Hence, it was essential to arrive at a consensus among the teachers, parents, sociologists and psychologist before introducing such subject in the CBSE curriculum, so as to prevent serious repercussion on the cultural mosaic of our society and for that there should be a national debate on the issue by involving different segments of society. Thereafter, a policy on sex education should be framed and implemented with the approval of Parliament. The gravamen of the petition can be stated in the following points:
a. that sex education will corrupt Indian youth and lead to collapse of education system;
b. that sex education will transform student-teacher relation into that of a man and woman;
c. that it is an education to sell condoms; and
d. that it will lead to creation of immoral society and also lead to a growth in single parent families.
COMMENTS OF MINISTRY OF HRD ON THE PETITION
2.0 The Ministry of HRD whose comments were sought on 22 May, 2007, responded vide their communication dated 6th August, 2007. It submitted that the Adolescence Education Programme (AEP) has been designed as a life education programme with a component on skill HIV preventive intervention by targeting adolescents with information on HIV as well as life skills, as the most effective way to stem the spread of the infection. AEP was launched in the year, 2005 and being implemented in all the Schools in States/UTs in collaboration with the National Aids Control Organization (NACO). The Ministry further submitted that its school based component was primarily meant for students of secondary and higher secondary classes to provide (i) age-appropriate, accurate and scientific knowledge to the students about the process of growing up during adolescence; (ii) to prevent HIV/AIDS and drug abuse; and (iii) to develop in them a positive attitude and life skills. According to the Ministry the basic objective of the programme was to enable the children to face challenges of life, completely safeguard themselves from risky situations and practice responsible behaviour for a healthy life. The Ministry added that-
(i) the Programme was aimed to impart adolescence education and not sex education;
(ii) the programme was addressed primarily for the students of secondary and higher secondary stages (classes IX and XI) and not meant for the students of primary classes, as pointed out in the petition;
(iii) the tool kit was meant for teachers and not for the students, as text material;
(iv) the programme was developed by the Ministry in collaboration with the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), and
(v) the programme had been finalized through wide ranging consultations with experts, subject specialists and teachers.
2.1 The Ministry had argued that it was essential to impart scientifically correct information to the children through school based interventions which provide safe learning space for young people for focusing on specific behaviour, use active and personalized teacher training methods, provide guidance on how to respond to social pressure and offer opportunities to practice communication and negotiation skills. The programme provides opportunities to learn and practice life skills such as decision making and communication which in turn can help enhance other important areas of adolescent development. The Ministry supplemented that there had been no complaints from either the teachers or parents on the life skill education being provided to the students.
2.2 The Ministry highlighted the following activities covered under the AEP:-
(i) Various kinds of educational activities were organized and training of teachers was of utmost priority, so that they could organize the education activities effectively. Under the programme two teachers were trained from each secondary/higher secondary school to impart sixteen hours of life skill based education in a year to the students of classes IX and XI;
(ii) The materials that had been developed under the Programme, was finalized through consultation with not only the States, national and international institutions, but also with the experts, subject specialists and teachers across the country. These materials had been properly pre-tested.
(iii) It had been prepared on the basis of needs of adolescent students and these needs were reflected in the National Curriculum Framework 2005 developed by NCERT and approved by the Central Advisory Board on Education (CABE).
(iii) The States had been requested to adopt or modify the material accordingly to the local requirements based on the socio-cultural ethos.
2.3.0 The National AEP Toolkit: Alongwith their comments, the Ministry also furnished the primary source of the Toolkit training materials namely the “Learning for Life Module” developed by NACO, UNESCO and UNICEF. The Ministry informed that the toolkit was developed by NACO and UNICEF in collaboration with State Departments of Education and State AIDS Control Societies (SACS). The toolkit consisted of the following documents:-
i) Life Skills Modules;
ii) Facilitators’ Handbook for Training Peer Educators;
iii) Facilitators’ Handbook for Refresher Teachers Training;
iv) Facilitators Handbook for Training of Trainers;
v) Teachers’ Workbook; and
vi) Flip Chart.
2.3.1 According to the Ministry, the States were also advised that the Toolkit was not a formal publication of DOE (MHRD), NACO or UNICEF and as such may be freely reviewed, quoted, reproduced or translated, in part or full to suit the local context, provided the source is acknowledged. The Ministry also informed that NACO had decided to review the AEP Toolkit at the central level through a Committee constituted with representation from educationists, doctors, child psychologists, interfaith coalition members and communication experts, in a time bound manner. Summing up their comments, the Ministry of HRD had pleaded that the petition may not be admitted.
2.3.2 Upon a close perusal of the comments of the Ministry of HRD, Department of School Education and Literacy, two dimensions of the matter were discernible. On the one hand, the Department had gone at length to offer their comments and responded to the main issues raised in the petition while on the other they had extensively used technical jargon and euphemisms in such a manner that the serious apprehensions raised in the petition had been sought to be underplayed. It was felt that the civil society debate the issue and all the stakeholders participate therein so that a consensual approach could be formulated, acceptable to all sections of the society. The petition was therefore, admitted under Rule 138(iii) of the Rules of Procedure.
ORAL EVIDENCE OF PETITIONERS AND OTHERS
2.4.0 As per the well established procedure, the Committee decided to first hear the petitioners to elicit their viewspoints on the petition. On 24th September, 2007 the co-petitioners, Smt. Asha Sharma and Ms. Pratiba Naitthani and other experts/activists namely, Shri Joginer Singh, Former Director CBI, Shri J.S. Rajput, Former Director, NCERT, Shri O.P. Gupta, Ex-Ambassador and Shri Dinanath Batra, National Coordinator, Shiksha Bachao Andolan, appeared before the Committee. These witnesses again appeared before the Committee in its next meeting held on 11th October, 2007 alongwith Jainacharya Shrimad Vijay Ratnasundarsureswarji, Shri Vidyasagar Verma, Former Ambassador, Prof. Ravindranath Paul, Ex-Vice Chancellor (Retd.), Jawaharlal Nehru University, Shri Anil Arya, National President, Arya Yuva Mahasammelan, Shri B.P. Khandelwal, Ex-Chairman, CBSE and Shri Bhupendra Yadav, Advocate, Supreme Court.
2.4.1 The petitioners in their first appearance wanted to make a power point presentation. But the Committee told them not to proceed with it after going through the hard copy because of its explicit contents. The Committee felt that it was not comfortable with it and could be embarrassing especially to the lady Members and other lady staff present.
2.4.2 Smt. Pratiba Naitthani, co-petitioner, a teacher by profession, submitted before the Committee that the material of AEP particularly the “Flip Chart”, Reference Book for Teachers namely “Teachers’ Work Book” and “Facilitators, Hand Book for Training of Trainers” carried explicit details about alternative methods of sex (anal and oral sex), method of safe sex, etc. The contents of these materials, would, according to the petitioner, ignite the curiosity of students about their experimentation, resulting in promiscuity and teenage pregnancies. The petitioner contended that use of condom, claimed to be a method of safe sex for protection from Sexuality Transmitted Diseases (STD) and unwanted pregnancies, was not actually cent percent safe. Instead of educating the adolescents that they were not physically and emotionally ready for sex and HIV/AIDS had no cure and nothing was safer than abstinence, till marriage, the material was promoting use of condom. She was of the view that marriage of a girl below eighteen years of age was an offence and sex with someone below sixteen years of age, even with consent, tantamount to rape. According to her the AEP material claimed that sex was a wholesome pleasurable experience which would prod sense organ of the children to experiment such thing under peer pressure. This according to her was not only immoral but also illegal in the eyes of law.
2.4.3 She pointed out that the material had been got prepared jointly by UNICEF and NACO in the name of AIDS prevention and bore western influence. She pointed out certain discrepancies in the figure of AIDS patients in India, quoted by NACO and expressed doubt over the methods of arriving at the conclusion that adolescent school children were most vulnerable to the dreaded disease. She wanted focussed attention on diseases such as jaundice, hepatitis, malaria afflicting most children, rather than making them target group for AIDS prevention.
2.4.4 The petitioner cited the experience of the western countries where a debate was going on for discontinuance of sex education as it had serious fallouts like teenage pregnancies leading to decrease of virginity age. The teenage pregnancies were increasing in those countries inspite of advanced knowledge and affordability for safe sex. Even schools in France were quipped with nurses to distribute contraceptive pills to the girls in the morning following the night in which they had unsafe sex. Schools in the U.K. were connected to abortion centres to terminate teenage pregnancies. It had become mandatory in the USA to seek consent of parents before imparting such programme to their children. She emphasized that we should not turn a blind eye to the repercussions of sex education in the western countries, which might erupt in our country after a few years. She held that the sex education was not suitable in the cultural context of our country and therefore the circular of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India introducing such education should be withdrawn forthwith. Propagation of such education, she contented, might act as a dampener on the programme of that Ministry for universalisation of education, particularly that of the girl child.
2.4.5 During her second appearance before the Committee on 11th October, 2007, the petitioner submitted that a lot of information on sex had been bombarded on the children through the electronic media, the films and internet. She mentioned that the puberty age in Mumbai and Delhi had come down to ten years due to undue exposure to sex material by the media. She underlined the need for regulating the media to put restriction on the shows connected with sleaze and sex. On a query about competence of the teachers to teach the AEP syllabus, the petitioner replied that there were instances where teachers without science background were trained in the AEP and most of them were reluctant to take a class in view of the obnoxious contents of the syllabus. She was of the view that a chapter on AIDS if added to the Biology syllabus would better spread awareness amongst the young children.
2.4.6 Smt. Asha Sharma, the co-petitioner supplemented that there was no need for sex education in the schools as the same was being imparted by parents and blood relations in the joint family for centuries in our country. The programme designed for prevention of AIDS would encourage the adolescents to experiment safe sex, which was again not cent percent safe. She informed the Committee that being a social worker, she had already received five thousand letters from the mothers of young children studying in schools in Delhi, opposing such programme.
2.4.7 Shri Joginder Singh one of the witness, was of the view that foeticide was on the rise even without sex education. Once sex education was introduced, there would be peer pressure amongst adolescents for its experimentation, which would increase the incidents of rape in the society as consent below the age of sixteen yeas was not considered as consent in the consensual sex and the consequential termination of teenage pregnancies, would contribute to increase of crime graph of the society. According to him sex education would add more problems than solving them.
2.4.8 Shri O.P. Gupta another witness, touched upon legal and social flaws of the sex education policy of the Government. He felt that the provision of interactive session in the classroom where teacher would instruct the boy and girl volunteers to touch different parts of each other’s lady, closing their eyes till other felt uncomfortable amounted to outraging the modesty of women. The teachers, who carry custodial burden of command and control in the class room, might be vulnerable to criminal charges under Sections 354, 355 & 509 of Indian Penal Code. Allied to that, the senior officers who were responsible for formulation and implementation of the policy might be dragged to the court of law as abettors of such crime. It might trigger communal tension in case a boy of one community touched body parts of a girl of a minor community. Further showing naked figures of male and female in the material with full focussed description of male and female genitalia to minor children, might attract penal action under the Sections of IPC dealing with obscenity. According to him the message as reflected in the material that masturbation was a physiological need and considered as not harmful to health, might prove to be false for the protein deficient boys and girls especially from the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families and they might be prone to tuberculosis in case of such regular practice. He was of the view that while trying to prevent AIDS, the programme would be exposing them to another disease-tuberculosis and therefore the sex education might be taught to students at graduate level in a scientific way.
2.4.9 Dr. J.S. Rajput mentioned that the policy of the Government on sex education was a misadventure in the field of curriculum development which had been implemented under foreign funding managed by UNICEF and UNFPA. The external funding agencies were keenly interested in bringing in their own cultural influences. He treated the policy as a blatant example of cultural invasion. According to him the reason for assigning the task of preparation of curriculum on sex education to NACO instead of the specialised institution (NCERT) for developing curriculum was questionable. He mentioned that eighty percent of families in India were still joint families which had resisted cultural onslaught from the west and remained intact. He regarded the AEP curriculum as a ploy to disintegrate the family system and rich cultural heritage which had been nourished for last ten thousand years. He emphasised upon Gandhiji’s view on education which provided for integral development of body, mind and spirit. He referred to the Eighty-sixth Report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development on Value Education, which recommended that children should know commonalities of all religions and respect the differences therein and also respect five values of truth, peace, non-violence, righteousness, and love.
2.4.10 Shri Dinanath Batra was of the view that the introduction of sex education had given cultural shock to our country and would promote promiscuity. Referring to four main Purusarthas – Dharma, Artha, Kama, Mokshya, he emphasised that adolescents should be taught how to exercise restraint over the powerful instinct of Kama for the sake of character and career building till marriage, which was a trust to channelise the instinct through the use of intellect, only with single partner. Quoting Acharya Vinoba Bhave, he submitted that ‘sex was not the subject of education; time and nature will tell it to everybody’ he was of the view that such a move of the Government under the influence of UNICEF & NACO would have disastrous effect on the culture and family system of our country.
2.4.11 Jainacharya Shreemad Vijay Ratnasundarsuriswarjee Maharaj Saheb questioned the necessity of imparting education about sex before the age of eighteen. According to him when the teachers who were mature enough, had not been able to control the powerful instinct of sex, how could the minor being immature be asked to exercise restraint after giving them lessons on sex. While referring to other diseases like diarrhoea, tuberculosis, cancer which are also equally fatal like AIDS, he sought to know the necessity of exposing minor students to safe sex for AIDS prevention without taking focussed measures to control other fatal diseases. To him, sex was not the subject of education, rather time and nature would teach that aspect to everyone in due course. Such education might destroy the value system in society and joint family system, institution of marriage (ek pati aur ek patni) and consequently career and character of the adolescents would be major casualties. He felt that the AEP syllabus should have been shown to the parents before introduction in the schools.
2.4.12 Shri Vidyasagar Varma another witness held the view that sex education was against the ethos of our society which would uproot the cultural values and beliefs we had cherished for so many centuries in our country. According to him, instead of teaching the children about abstinence in sex, the material intended to promote sexual gratification by way of masturbation and homosexuality amongst adolescents. Quoting Mahatma Gandhiji’s idea on sexual knowledge, he mentioned that education which was used for controlling or overcoming sexual passion instead of stimulating it, might be taught to adolescents. He opined that if sex education was introduced in schools like it has been done in European countries, we would soon have condom dispensing machines and abortion clinics in our schools. He felt that the curriculum on sex-education prepared by UNICEF and NACO contained explicit details about sexual intercourse and was found to be highly objectionable. He apprehended that there might be increase in instances of sexual harassment in the classroom either by the teacher or fellow students of opposite sex. He held that our society laid great stress on spirituality and the sex education might divert the attention of children spoiling their talent which had been acclaimed world over. Furthermore, it might result in disintegration of joint family system, institution of family (one husband/wife system), loss of respect to elders and parents. He wanted the Deptt. of Education to teach students about self-control and good conduct instead of sex education and the curriculum must be withdrawn from the schools at once.
2.4.13 Dr. Kapil Kapoor while drawing attention of the Committee to the fallout of sex education in the western countries, was of the view that the cultural attitude to sexuality in our country which had produced magnum opus like Kama Sutra is different from the western country. As per our culture, sex had been considered as sacred union and tempered through self-imposed restraint and abstinence through societal regulation. The Indians socially, therefore, restrict sex within the institution of marriage (ek pati/patni) for procreation. Indian society gives importance to niyama (the right way deciding things), sayama (restraint) and shradha (reverence/sanctity). Sex (Kama) had been prescribed to be exercised within the boundary of dharma (righteousness). According to him the unbridled sexuality prevalent in the Northern Hemisphere would corrupt our society which had attempted to uphold highest ethical standards and it might end up in ethical vacuum, as had happened in the western society. He emphasised that our children should be taught self-restraint, character-building, reverence for people and wisdom, in place of current curriculum on sex-education.
2.4.14 Shri B.P. Khandelwal informed the Committee that the National Curriculum Frameworks For Education of 1978, 1988, 2000 and 2005 had been designed by NCERT which harped upon the notion of having respect towards the opposite sex and little bit about healthy sex and sexuality. According to him, the present syllabus had overlooked those aspects highlighted by the NCERT. In that context, he questioned the decision to get the material prepared by NACO without involving NCERT which had expertise in curriculum development. He alleged that the acceptance of foreign funding for advocacy of the curriculum had its hidden agenda by which the western countries would impose their culture upon us and weaken the value system of the country. He questioned the need of sixteen hours capsule course fully knowing that reproductive system had been part of Biology syllabus for decades. He was of the opinion that current sex-education would strike at the root of guru-shishya parampara, value system, society and family system.
2.4.15 Shri Bhupendra Yadav held the view that the policy of the Ministry of Human Resource Development was against the mandate of Article 39(f) and the Preamble to the Constitution. Shri Dinanath Batra suggested that minor students should be taught about intellectual and physical strength, cleanliness, deep thinking, purity of thought, spiritual strength and meditation instead of sex education.
2.4.16 In addition, the Committee heard students, teachers, parents, educationists, leaders of religious groups, sociologists, representatives of different State Governments during its visits to different parts of the country. Details of deliberations held during the visits find place elsewhere in this Chapter.
2.5 The Committee in its meeting held on 24th September, 2007 decided to issue a Press Communiqué for inviting views/suggestions/comments from different stakeholders including, eminent educationists, psychologists, sociologists, spiritual leaders, teachers, parents and students for generating a debate on the need for introduction of sex education in the Schools. The Press Communiqué appeared in different newspapers in English, Hindi and other vernacular languages on 26th September, 2007. In response, the Committee received around 4,85,000 Memoranda from all across the country; overwhelming majority of them opposing the proposed move to introduce Adolescence Education Programme.
2.5.1 The good offices of Governmental agencies and local media were utilized by the Committee during its visit to Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai between 22nd to 26th October, 2007 and Kolkata, Bengaluru and Thiruvanthapuram between 3rd to 8th February, 2008. Regional Offices of PTI were engaged to provide publicity to the mandate of the Committee through Press Releases in vernacular languages with a view to facilitate the stakeholders, including the public, to submit their representations on the subject for consideration of the Committee at the respective places of its visit.
2.5.2 Arrangements were made adjacent to the venue of the meetings, to enable the stakeholders to drop their suggestions/representations in a special box meant for the purpose. Committee’s intent to reach public through local media, both print and electronic received huge response and the stakeholders at local level got opportunities to openly come up with their written as well as oral views before the Committee. This unprecedented exercise proved to be a useful tool in getting a wider feedback on the subject
STUDY VISITS OF THE COMMITTEE
2.6 The evidence of the petitioners, social activists, experts, academicians taken in Delhi led the Committee to interact with the stakeholders at different parts of the country, on the move of the Government to introduce adolescence education programme in schools. Such interaction was a natural corollary to the severe criticism of the Government’s decision, as shared by the witnesses during their interaction with the Committee. The Committee thus decided to undertake visits to Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Thiruvananathapuram in two phases. The first phase of the visit covered Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai during 22nd – 26th October, 2007. The details of field visits and the feedback received during interaction with different stakeholders during first phase of the visit are outlined below:
Corporation Girls Higher Secondary School, Saidapet
2.6.1 The sequence of study visits of the Committee commenced at Chennai on 22nd October, 2007 with a visit to this school where specially trained teachers, counsellors, master trainers and peer educators shared their experience on the adolescent education programme being run in that school. According to them the programme which was known as Health Education Programme, started in 1987, and included teaching of health related issues to the students in one hour per week per school. The school was focussing on techniques to say no to peer pressure. It was informed that boys and girls were being taught separately on the life skill techniques. The school was publishing a newsletter highlighting the activities under the programme. The Committee was informed that the school was not facing any problem in imparting the programme. On a query from the Chairman of the Committee about the justification for imparting such education to little children when the marriage age was 18 years in the country and teaching about AIDS or safe sex, the school authorities informed that sex awareness after class VII and knowledge of hormones from class V was absolutely necessary for their growth. Interaction with the counsellors was followed by a demo session by students in which they exhibited the strength of will-power against temptation of experimentation and merrymaking during a birthday party scene.
2.6.2 The Committee thereafter interacted with parents, teachers and NGOs who were present in the school. One of the parents contended that the programme was useful to create awareness about growth of body parts, information which the parents find difficult to impart at home and as a result of which the children might be exploited in case of ignorance. Another parent felt that the education programme encouraged the children to face the peer pressure. According to him girl students would be more benefitted through such programme. One of the headmasters opined that such education enlightened young minds on the question of abstinence from sex. A representative of one NGO wanted the parents to study the programme meticulously to form a better idea of its merits.
P.S. Senior Secondary School, Mylapore
2.6.3 The Committee’s visit to this school commenced with a power-point presentation by the school authorities. The Orientation Programme of the school was a 16 hours programme spread over the academic session which highlighted the physiological as well as psychological changes which occur during the adolescent period. It further emphasized proper counselling of students as well as the parents. The Committee then interacted with students and teachers. The Chairman wanted to know from the trainers the procedure adopted to train/educate the children and also the contents of the education given to the students. The trainer informed that efforts were made to ensure that the students do not receive wrong information. The students were taught through charts and lectures. The school conducted separate classes for boys and girls. Emphasis was being laid on abstinence rather than safe sex. One of the girl student mentioned that people from conservative background faced difficulty in sharing information on sex related issues but she conceded that in the modern age when the students had other source of information it was better to have age appropriate education through the programme being conducted in the school. She clarified that the students were not inclined to experiment with sex, as the programme was designed with a holistic approach.
2.6.4 The Committee also interacted with NGOs, experts and leaders of religious groups who had gathered in the school premises. An editor of newspaper submitted that he was engaged in publishing positive feedback by writing a column on adolescent education programme. Another witness emphasized that the health education programme in the State helped in educating girl students about crisis management. She wanted the science teacher to impart age appropriate education programme on sex organs. A representative of Vidya Shastri School submitted that AEP was an artificial concept when the mother in our society was capable to impart education to the children. A teacher’s representative felt that children were already exposed to sex material through the internet. She laid stress on education and moral and spiritual values. A witness running an NGO opined that AEP took into consideration the holistic life skills at primary school level.
Interaction with Government of Tamil Nadu
2.6.5 The Secretary, School Education, Government of Tamil Nadu, submitted that Adolescence Education Programme was introduced in the State in 2007. According to him the objectionable material had been deleted from the syllabus and the module of 2002 was being followed which did not have any obnoxious content. Explaining the details, the Secretary (School Education) informed that the programme was a 16 hours co-curriculum activity. Every school had two teachers and two peer educators at high school and higher secondary school level. About 9,722 schools were covered and 16 lakh students were being trained every year.
2.6.6 A member of the Committee pointed out some objectionable portions/pictures of AEP and wanted the State officials to react. The Chairman of the Committee wanted to confirm from the CBSE officials as to whether they would consider deleting offending pictures from the books as was done by the State Government. The CBSE representative mentioned that States were free to adopt AEP as per their local need. The Chairman of the Committee observed that educating general public about HIV/AIDS was different from imparting education about the same to children, which was a bit sensitive and therefore care should be taken to ensure that children are not spoiled at tender age.
D.A.V. Public School and Government Girls High School, Hyderabad
2.6.7 The Committee found that the students, teachers and the parents were in favour of Adolescence Education Programme. One of the parents of D.A.V. School favoured such education as he felt that it was the right of the students to know. Some students mentioned that they could get the desired knowledge through AEP and never felt like accessing information through wrong sources. According to a teacher, AEP stood for: A: Abstinence; B: Be Faithful and C: Condom use. According to him the ABC made the AEP quite relevant and acceptable in the society in general and the schools in particular.
Interaction with NGOs, Experts, Representatives of State Legislative Assembly and State Government
2.6.8 The meeting commenced with the opening observations from the Chairman of the Committee regarding the contents of the petition and the details of experience sharing with teachers and students in the schools visited by the Committee. The Chairman requested the representative of the State Government, to note down the point raised during the meeting and send the State Government’s responses at a later date. The leaders of Christian and Muslim communities expressed their reservation over the introduction of sex education in the school. Both the leaders emphasized value based education. They held that AEP should not be imposed on the children. They recommended a curriculum which helped in strengthening the problem solving and creative thinking skills of the children. Some members of State Legislative Council expressed their strong opposition to the introduction of sex education in the schools. They felt that the present material was sending a wrong message in the society. The syllabus according to them needed to be reoriented. An MLC supporting sex education, underlined the need for proper training to teachers. The representative of All India Mahila Sangarsh Sangathan opined that the syllabus contained vulgar material and would spoil our children. According to her 90 per cent teachers were opposing the education, as per a survey.
Holyname High School, Colaba
2.6.9 The Committee began its business at Mumbai with visit to Holyname High School, Colaba followed by Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 1, Navy Nagar. The authorities of Holyname High School gave a power-point presentation on the school adolescence life skill education programme. The presentation highlighted the merits of Adolescence Education Programme. One of the parent informed that they come to know a lot of things about AEP from their children. According to her the education programme was need based and should be made compulsory. Another parent felt that the programme dispelled the misconception and helped in creating awareness amongst the students in the society. A student submitted that discussing the ill effects of HIV amongst friends had proved to be quite useful and the ABC rule was a effective tool.
Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 1, Navy Nagar
2.6.10 Students of Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 1, Navy Nagar exhibited life skills before the Committee. The life skills emphasized on value education and the techniques to cope up with emotions. One of the parents submitted that they cannot monitor children every time and the life skills programme in the school was proving quite useful as it prepared the children to face any situation. It enabled the child to emphatically say ‘NO’ to peer pressure. One student observed that the children should be taught to know the limits and the AEP has adequately addressed the concern.
Interaction with NGO’s, Educationists and MLAs/MLCs
2.6.11 One of the parent underlined the need of AEP in the present scenario of nuclear family system where the children could share their views with only their parents. A teacher of APJ School felt that AEP helped in developing critical thinking, personal relationship and the strength to say ‘NO’ to peer pressure. A witness, psychologist by profession, mentioned that AEP is not simply sex education but it is an issue concerned with the development of the children. Another witness, representative of an NGO, submitted that parents should have been consulted before introducing sex education in the schools. According to him college is the right stage for imparting such education. He felt that separate education should be given to girls and boys students. A leader of a religious group said that though sex education might be important but our culture is more important. He was not in favour of AEP as its syllabus had not been shown to the parents. Another religious leader opined that sex education was not a class room subject as the children might experiment sex. A representative of State Legislature felt that sex education should be informal and it should be introduced at IX standard level. Another representative of State Legislature felt that by introducing sex education in the school our culture would get a body blow and sex tourism would flourish. According to him major religious groups were opposing the move and, therefore, sex education should immediately be stopped. The representative of Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad opposed the introduction of sex education in the schools.
Interaction with Government of Maharashtra
2.6.12 The Chief Secretary of Maharashtra informed the Committee that the issue of introduction of sex education was discussed in the Legislative Assembly. Sex Education was banned after strong opposition to the objectionable material and the curriculum was being reviewed. The Chairman of the Committee desired that a copy of the review of the curriculum by the State Government, may be sent to the Committee.
2.6.13 Kolkata was the first destination in the second phase of Committee’s visit, from 3rd to 8th February, 2008 which included Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram as well. On 4th February, 2008 the Committee visited three schools in Kolkata where interactions with students, teachers and parents were arranged. The details have been given below.
Kendriya Vidyalaya, Alipore
2.6.14 The Principal of the School welcomed the Committee and a power point presentation was made on AEP. The Principal submitted that the syllabus prescribed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development was not being followed in that school. He clarified that they were not using Flip Chart developed by NACO but imparting only moral education to their students.
Laxmipat Singhania School, Alipore
2.6.15 A power point presentation was made on the school’s activities and course content regarding AIDS awareness etc. The Committee was informed that there was no sex education in their curriculum as such; but students were being taught life-skills and moral education. Parents who were present in the school indicated that they were not against the AEP but the course content should be culture- sensitive.
Alipore Multipurpose Girls Sr. Secondary School
2.6.16 This School was considered to be one of the best Government Schools in West Bengal. The school was teaching life skill education instead of Adolescence Education. An open interaction with stakeholders suggested that the parents had responded well to the life skill education of the school. Strongly favouring the Adolescence Education Programme, one of the parents observed that students felt more comfortable in putting health and other development (physical & physiological) related questions to teachers than to their parents. Another parent appreciated the step by step and stage by stage learning process envisaged under the programme. The general impression was that the students, their parents and also the teachers were in favour of AEP but at the same time emphasized that it should be given in scientific form without disturbing the social values. As an exception, one of the parents expressed ignorance about the contents of the programme and desired that parents should be consulted twice a year.
Interaction with Parents, Teachers, NGOs and leaders of Religious Groups
2.6.17 An interactive session of the Committee with parents/teachers associations/educationist/NGO’s/representatives of religions groups was organized at Sisir Mancha, Acharya Jagdish Chandra Bose Road, Kolkata. A large number of representatives from various NGOs and also individuals from different fields attended the session. After his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, gave the floor to the those present to express their views. The response of the individuals/representatives to the introduction of AEP was a mixed one. The representatives of All India Save Education Committee expressed their deep anguish over the move to introduce sex education. Secretary, Islamic Society felt that the adolescence education would expose tender minds towards condoms. Emphasizing the need for moral education, he raised objection to the visually explicit contents in the material. The representative of ABVP was vociferous in his protest. One person was in favour of teaching the values of a good human being. Another person wanted counsellors in the schools to answer the queries of the students. A teacher by profession, submitted that there was a need for imparting sex education to children but with some modifications in its contents, because, the programme launched by the Government had attracted more controversy than serving the purpose of imparting AIDS awareness among children.
Meeting with representatives of Government of West Bengal
2.6.18 Initiating the discussion, the Chairman of the Committee briefly shared with the representatives of the State Government, the interactions the Committee had with the students, teachers, parents, etc. in three schools the Committee had visited. Emphasizing the need for age-appropriate education the Chief Secretary Government of West Bengal submitted that State Government had not implemented the AEP as suggested by the Ministry of HRD but had brought a book of its own named as ‘Life Style’ for exclusive use of the teachers. The book covered various issues related to health, hygiene and information on HIV infection and AIDS awareness. The Committee pointed out some objectionable portion in the book and expressed its concern that the contents thereof focused more on the method of safe sex instead of HIV control. The Chief Secretary agreed to review the book and delete the objectionable portions out of it.
B.B.U.L. Jain Vidyalaya
2.6.19 In Bengaluru, the Committee visited B.B.U.L. Jain Vidyalaya followed by Government Girls’ School on 6th February, 2008. The Principal of B.B.U.L. Jain Vidyalaya, opined that the AEP programme introduced by the Ministry of HRD was aimed to empower the adolescents on various life situations and made them more responsible citizens. She however clarified that teachers and students were not exposed to any kind of material provided by NACO during the training of teachers on AEP, organized by CBSE. In fact the material used by the school included negotiation skills, yoga and meditation programme. The 16 Hours programme was devoted to life skills education and emphasised the need for stress management. The education on physiological changes was covered in Biology lessons. One of the parent shared that her daughter was comfortable to express herself after the introduction of life still education in the school.
Government Girls Schools, Basvangudi
2.6.20 The Principal of Government Girls School, Basvangudi underlined the need of the programme like AEP but felt that it should be imparted to children scientifically. She did not favour educating the children through the material prepared by NACO.
Interaction with Teachers, Parents, NGOs, Representatives of Religious Groups and Government of Karnataka
2.6.21 The Committee interacted with teachers, parents, NGOs, educationists in the presence of the representatives of Government of Karnataka. After making his opening observations, the Chairman of the Committee gave the floor to those present, with a pointed query as to why it was necessary to impart lessons to the students on sex or safe sex instead of advocating no sex before 18 years of age.
2.6.22 The representative of Akhil Bhartiya Sri Swetambar Murtipujak Youak Mahasangh submitted that they opposed sex education which was against our culture. Amongst those present, a parent advocated moral education programme. A representative of NIMHANS felt that it was not desirable to term the programme as sex education. To him the curriculum might be planned as per our culture and ethos. A Member of State Legislature questioned the need for sex education when no one taught the same to even animals. She felt that the old Gurukul system should be revived for holistic development of children.
2.6.23 During interactions with the representatives of the State Government of Karnataka, the Committee noted that the State’s Department of Public Instructions had appointed Department of State Educational Research and Training (DSERT) as the nodal Department to implement adolescence education in the State. The Funds are released to schools and colleges for training and other activities through District Institute of Education and Training (DIET). Tool Kits developed by UNICEF and NACO were being used to train the teachers. Some co-curricular activities like Question Box, Role Play Debate, Group Discussion, Counselling etc. were being organized to develop life skill activities amongst the students. Training had been provided to 19,313 teachers on UNICEF / NACO modules. There had however been objections from the parents on the NACO/UNICEF modules and the State Government had constituted an expert committee for revising those modules. The State Government intended to review the contents considering the class and the age of the students and also the culture of the community while discussing life skill education.
2.6.24 In its last leg of visit, the Committee arrived at Thiruvananthapuram on 6th February, 2008. Next day, the Committee visited Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pattom followed by Arya Central School, Pattom.
Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pattom
2.6.25 The Principal of the School submitted that they have not adopted the syllabus as prescribed by CBSE on sex education. Introduced in 2006, their 18 hours programme included syllabus on health and hygiene for which the trained teachers were imparting age-appropriate education to the age group of the 17 years. Students were being taught on adolescent development, AIDS awareness etc. Both students as well as the teachers were in favour of implementation of adult education in schools but advocated that education should be imparted in a scientific manner without compromising our culture and social ethos.
Arya Central School, Pattom
2.6.26 Arya Central School, Pattom was the first private CBSE affiliated school set up in 1965 for Classes I -XII. The school had not adopted the syllabus as developed by the M/o HRD and was not following the sex education concept as such. But, education on HIV and AIDS awareness, drug abuse, ill effects of tobacco etc. was imparted to the students. No classroom activities were being undertaken. The school had recruited two trained teachers on life skills. The education was a part of Biology subject. The objective was to channlise the thought of children and develops their psychological competence. This was one of the Central Schools which had totally discarded the AEP and not even received the study materials on AEP from CBSE. The teachers as well students appeared quite satisfied with the kind of education being imparted through moderate methods.
Interactions with NGOs, parents, representatives of religious organizations and Government of Kerala
2.6.27 The Chairman of the Committee in his opening observations highlighted the contents of the petition and apprised the witnesses about the details of experience sharing with students and teachers in the schools visited by the Committee. He then gave the floor to the witnesses. The leaders of religious organisations emphasized the need for moral and value education to the students. They felt that the AEP material in the present form should not be discussed in the classroom; they wanted special education and counselling for the parents in the matter. They laid emphasis on a culturally acceptable education to the students. A witness belonging to a NGO submitted that the revised module proposed by the State Government carried the same contents as that of UNICEF and the proposed education already found place in the existing curriculum of the Biology subject. A parent wanted that interaction should take place with parents before implementing sex education in the schools. Another parent underlined the need for value education in the school. One more witness mentioned that as per a recent survey most of the students were found ignorant of the physiological developments taking place in human body. To him AEP was as important as value based education.
2.6.28 The Chief Secretary of the State Government of Kerala informed that the State was in the process of revising the syllabus. A SCERT Committee had worked on the revised material and the draft revised module had been put on the website for eliciting public opinion. He added that the State wanted to teach a culturally acceptable syllabus to its students.
ORAL EVIDENCE OF SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF HRD, AND OTHERS OFFICERS:
2.7.0 The Secretary, Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (Department of School Education Literacy) submitted that Adolescence Education Programme had been introduced for the students of secondary and senior secondary classes i.e. from class IX to XII, which form the age group of 14 to 18. He mentioned that the AEP Curriculum was developed in consultation with the State Governments, experts, educationists and NACO. He informed that the Tool Kit developed by the Ministry was meant for teachers and not for the students. He conceded that there had been criticism of the Tool Kit and other material that had been developed. Following such criticism, the Secretary, School Education and Literacy of the Government of India had sent a letter to Education Secretaries of State Governments and Union Territories requesting them to review the material to ensure that the same was tuned to local socio-cultural ethos. According to him, NACO was also in the process of reviewing the material and the content of the curriculum for adolescent education at the central level through an expert committee comprising of educationists, doctors, child psychologists, experts, teachers, parents etc. The Expert Committee would prepare a draft after seeking the opinion of stakeholders so that a generally accepted pattern was evolved.
2.7.1 The Chairman, CBSE in his submission informed the Committee that the Board had more than 9000 schools affiliated to it but those were not imparting sex education to their students. He stated that sex education was neither part of any curriculum nor had been integrated into any subject or incorporated as a separate subject. CBSE affiliated schools were not using the Flip Chart and there was no complaint regarding AEP. He clarified that AEP was not being implemented from Class VI as has been alleged by the petitioners and in fact it was purely based on co-curricular activities aimed at students from Classes IX to XII. He further clarified that under AEP only adolescence health issues were being discussed and not the reproductive sex issues. CBSE had devised its own curriculum covering four volumes addressing the needs of the Principals and the resource persons, the nodal teachers and the students. He informed that the concerns raised by the petitioners regarding the cultural ethos of the country had been taken into consideration by re-looking into the material afresh. He also apprised the Committee about the periodic consultation process followed with the parents about the material. The Chairman, CBSE placed before the Committee the redrafted version of AEP as was being implemented in CBSE affiliated schools.
2.7.2 The Commissioner of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti and Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan submitted that the programme had been implemented in 60 Navodaya Vidyalaya Schools (N.V.S.) schools in the year 2005 in two regions i.e. in Hyderabad and in Lucknow. They had identified the Assistant Commissioners, senior principals, senior teachers and staff nurses to be trained as resource persons for imparting education on the subject. Doctors and parents had been involved in implementation of the programme. N.V.S. had developed its own materials to be used by the teachers and the same had been implemented in Kendriya Vidyalayas also.
2.7.3 Director General, National Aids Control Organisation submitted that the life skill education introduced in 1998 was earlier known as School Aids Programme. In the year 2002 it was felt that the children should be taught about the growing up process, the relationship with the opposite sex, saying no to sexual exploitation apart from the education on the hormonal and body changes and the physical aspects of the reproductive health among young children and adolescents. From 2002 till 2005 there was intense consultation with NCERT, parents and teachers in the States as well as at the national level and the AEP was finally launched in June, 2005. She conceded that the programme invited criticism as the training and pedagogy in which the material should be taught were not correct. According to her, a Committee had been constituted to review these material in consultation with NCERT, CBSE, VIMHANS etc. so as to have a prototype developed in consultation with all stakeholders. She, however, underlined the need for proper education to the young children who were really vulnerable to HIV infection.
2.7.4 Project Coordinator, NCERT submitted that the process of body development was added to the curriculum way back in 1988 but now the same had been focussing on the concerns related to physical, psychological and social development. He invited the attention of the Committee to the National Curriculum Framework 2005 which concluded that age appropriate, context specific interventions on adolescent reproductive and sexual health concern, including HIV/AIDS and drug abuse, were needed to provide opportunities to children to construct knowledge and acquire life skills so that they could cope up with concerns related to the process of growing up. He submitted that all the States had been trying to incorporate the contents and adopt the process of school education as per the adolescent material published by NCERT in 1999. According to him, AEP launched in 2005 was the outcome of a much focussed strategy which was considered very important to be launched in the context of HIV/AIDS and drug abuse. He, however, conceded that NCERT had not been a part of the entire process of developing the AEP curriculum (emphasis supplied).
2.7.5 While the Committee was in the process of finalising its future course of action on the petition, it learnt from sources that the Government had set up a Committee under the Chairmanship of Chairman, CBSE to review the AEP material. The Committee therefore decided to interact again with the Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development (Department of School Education and Literacy) to confirm the factual position. The Secretary during his second appearance before the Committee confirmed that his Ministry had indeed constituted a Committee to review the entire matter, under the Chairmanship of Chairman, CBSE, with representatives from NCERT, NACO, National Council of Open Schooling, KVS, NVS and VIMHANS. He informed that Government of NCT of Delhi and Government of Andhra Pradesh had also been associated in the review panel. Besides, the Review Committee had also sought suggestions from the State Governments and other stakeholders in the matter. A questionnaire was put on the CBSE website to elicit information/opinion of people. On the question, whether NACO was also reviewing its material, the Secretary replied in the affirmative and clarified that once NACO prepared its review report, it would be perused alongwith review being conducted by Chairman, CBSE. He added that the National Review Committee would complete its work by 30th March, 2008.
ORAL EVIDENCE OF CHIEF SECRETARY AND OTHER OFFICERS OF GOVT. OF NCT, DELHI
2.8.0 Time and again the petitioners and the non-official witnesses had been inviting the attention of the Committee towards two volumes of Handbook for Teachers, under Yuva School Adolescence Education Progamme, published by the Directorate of Education, Government of NCT of Delhi and DSACS. Volume I was meant for students of Vth to VIIIth Standard and Volume II contained material to be shared with students of IXth to XIIth Standard. The Committee was disturbed to note the objectionable material printed in the YUVA Volumes, for the students, particularly to those in the tender age group of 12 to 14 years. The fact that these publications carried messages from top functionaries of Government of NCT including the Chief Minister and the Education Minister, was more worrisome to the Committee. It was therefore decided to call the representatives of the Delhi Government to present their viewpoint on the contents of YUVA Volumes.
2.8.1 The Chief Secretary mentioned that the YUVA life skill programme had to be seen in the context of overall improvement in social schemes which were intended to be imparted to the children so that they become responsible citizens when they grow up in the society. He informed that the YUVA programme contained positive values, health and hygiene components. He stated that as a result of the experience that had been gained, the whole programme was being re-written and a complete new draft was being prepared based on the feedback received from various quarters.
2.8.2 The Secretary, Government of NCT Delhi, conceded that some material printed in the two volumes ought to have been written with much more sensibility. She clarified that the material was under review since January, 2006 and all the objectionable portions were being excluded in the final version. She informed the Committee that out of 237 sessions in the final YUVA Programme there would be 60 sessions on promoting positive values, 62 sessions on civic and social awareness and the third spell of sessions would focus on scholastic performance. She also mentioned about the proposed inclusion of some lessons on nutrition in the new curriculum. She assured that the new curriculum would be culturally and socially appropriate and all the material will be checked by students, parents and other stakeholders before they were actually implemented. When asked why the YUVA volumes propagated about safe sex using condoms and depicting objectionable pictures, she assured that all offending material would be deleted in the new volume and also from the volume “16 Hours Package for Teachers”. She admitted that it was a mistake to include such material in the previous volumes. She agreed to the suggestion of the Chairman that before finalising the review and implementation of the curriculum, the Government of NCT Delhi would take the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development into confidence so that a healthy, moral and ethical education was provided to the students in line with the national consensus.
ADDITIONAL SUBMISSION BY PETITIONERS AND OTHERS
2.9.0 While the examination of the petition by the Committee was at a crucial stage with adequate amount of feedback from two phases of visits, the evidences of Secretary and other representatives of Ministry of HRD including the evidences of Chief Secretary and the Education Secretary of Government of NCT of Delhi, that the co-petitioners, alongwith Acharya Vijay Ratnasundersurishwarji, came up with a specific request for giving another opportunity to appear before the Committee to share some additional points with it. Having been flooded with feedback, having received more than 4,85,000 memoranda and number of developments having taken place with regard to decision of NACO to review the AEP material, the Committee considered it appropriate to give one more opportunity to the co-petitioners and Acharya Vijay Ratnasundersurishwarji to place their view/points. However, the meeting of the Committee could not be convened and the co-petitioners and Jainacharya appeared before the Chairman of the Committee with their supplementary evidence on 21st April, 2008.
2.9.1 The first co-petitioner submitted that earlier she had learnt about the introduction of sex education in the CBSE affiliated schools only, but of late the Government was planning to introduce the revised syllabus in all the schools. She expressed concern that no substantial change had actually been made in the syllabus. Secondly, NACO had been involved in preparing the syllabus although its mandate did not confer any such function. She wanted the Committee to intervene and ensure that sex education was not imposed on the children at the school level. The co-petitioner in her submission mentioned that some States were coming up with their independent curriculum justifying introduction of sex education in all schools within the respective state. She opined that the role of NACO and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in framing curriculum was exceptionable. According to her, if NACO had to spread awareness about AIDS then it should choose another platform and not the school curriculum. In fact NACO should focus on the areas from where HIV/AIDS is spreading; AIDS was certainly not spreading from the schools. Concluding her submission, she mentioned that we should learn from the mistake of the western countries where such type of education had been introduced a few decades back and the horrible results thereof were manifesting themselves in anonymous manner.
2.9.2 Jainacharya Vijay Ratnasunderswarsurishwarji while deposing before the Chairman of the Committee for the second time submitted that he had pleaded for scrapping the programme and not requested for review. Reacting to media reports that Government proposed to implement sex education as soon as it was modified, he strongly pleaded for moral education and value based education. Jainacharya also submitted that there was still a grey area about qualification and the competence of the teacher who would teach sex education. He wondered who would take the responsibility that they would maintain high standard of morality while teaching students the subjects.
GENESIS AND CONCEPTUALIZATION OF AEP
3.0 There were numerous factors which compelled the Committee to zero in its study to the genesis of the Government’s idea of introducing Adolescence Education Programme. Primary amongst them were the contrary views expressed by the petitioners and other experts before the Committee and the stance taken by the Ministry in their written comments. All the witnesses who appeared before the Committee at New Delhi and good majority of those who interacted with it during its field visits, were vociferous in their protest against the introduction of AEP in the schools. They contended that the move to educate children about sex in the garb of HIV/AIDS prevention was quite reprehensible in view of our socio-cultural ethos. According to them, parents and teachers were not consulted before introducing AEP. This was contrary to the comments of the Ministry which claimed wider consultations had taken place with all stakeholders. Barring few States, others had either banned sex education or had introduced modified programme which was socially acceptable; some States had not taken any decision on the subject. Even during its visits, the Committee noted a general sense of protest amongst the stakeholders. Most of the States visited by the Committee had replaced the set of curriculum developed by NACO/MHRD with age appropriate, socially and culturally acceptable material. The response to Committee’s Press Release also indicated that out of 4,50,000 representations received by the Committee, the overwhelming majority opinion was against the introduction of AEP in the schools. This apart, the role of NACO in preparing AEP curriculum instead of NCERT doing the job raised serious question marks. Thus such a broad spectrum of feedback left the Committee wondering as to how could the Ministry go against the strong tide of public opinion and what could be the compelling circumstances which prompted the Government to go ahead with AEP. The Committee was also equally concerned over the primacy given to NACO in developing and implementing the curriculum which rightly belonged to MHRD and NCERT. The Committee therefore felt it appropriate to ascertain from the MHRD the stage-by stage progress of deliberations that took place at Governmental level in the formulation of the programme. The Committee was interested to know the details of consultations held with all stakeholders including State Governments, the details of agencies involved in preparing curriculum, the rationale behind linking AEP with HIV prevention when a Biology syllabus chapter on Human Reproductive System was already prescribed in the schools and the negative experience of those countries where such education was impacted. A comprehensive questionnaire was therefore referred to the HRD Ministry for ensuring a fair and objective analysis of the subject matter.
3.1 Tracing back the history of the subject, the Ministry of HRD in their reply informed that the consensus to introduce Adolescence Education Programme in the schools evolved during 1990’s, when NCERT organised a National Seminar on Adolescence Education on 12-13 April 1993. The Seminar was attended by eminent educationists, psychologists, medical scientists, curriculum developers, teacher educators, school principals and teachers, representatives of government and non-governmental organisational involved in sex education, family life education, AIDS education, health education, preventive education against drug abuse and population education. Experts and specialists from Universities, AIIMS, NACO, SCERTs, State Boards, Family Planning Association of India, Pariwar Sewa Sanstha, Centre for Social Research, Reproductive Health Foundation and National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, UNESCO and UNFPA also participated in the deliberations of the Seminar. The seminar recommended the introduction of adolescence education in the curricula of all stages of schooling. In pursuance thereof, the NCERT developed the General Framework of Adolescence Education including its three major components viz (i) Process of growing up during adolescence, (ii) HIV/AIDS and (iii) Drug abuse.
3.2 Certain important publications brought by NCERT from time to time gave some idea on the progress in conceptualisation of AEP at Government Level. The Report on the National Seminar, 1993, the National Curriculum Framework of 1998, the publication titled “Adolescent Education in School” brought out by NCERT and the National Curriculum Framework 2005 paved the way for framing the AEP in the country.
Report on National Seminar, 1993
3.3 Pursuant to the National Seminar, a book titled ‘Adolescence Education’ was brought out in 1993 which emphasised the need to make specific educational intervention for helping adolescents to properly understand the process of growing up and its related curiosity and problems. Educationists, psychologists, medical scientists, teacher educators, teachers and activists belonging to some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) deliberated on various issues in the particular context of prevailing inhibitions regarding the incorporation of sensitive elements related to sexual development in adolescents. This book contained chapters on (i) Adolescence Education Concept and Content (ii) Status of AEP in The School Curricula (iii) The Need of Sex Education for Adolescents in India, and (iv) Sex Related Problems Among Adolescents in India, etc.
3.4 The chapter “The need of Sex Education for Adolescents in India” in the book mentioned that there was no fixed or definite time to start sex education. It advocated that the informal sex education could be started at any time when the child’s curiosity made him receptive to conceptual inputs. The book also contained information about the physiological changes occurring in the bodies of both the boys and girls, the right time of sex education, the methodology to impart sex education, the role of parents in imparting sex education, etc.
National Curriculum for Elementary and Secondary Education
3.5.0 The National Curriculum for Elementary and Secondary Education brought by the NCERT in 1998 contained the guidelines about the material to be taught to the students at pre-primary, primary, upper primary and secondary stage. Basically the curriculum advocated that physical education should aim at developing health, strength and fitness of the body (emphasis supplied).
3.5.1 While at pre-primary stage the development in the child about adequate personal hygiene habits, neuro-muscular co-ordination, emotional health and healthy community living were important components of education, the curriculum emphasised creation of awareness amongst the students to common health problems, safety measures, nutrional problems, adulteration, first-aid, sanitation and pollution at primary education level. The guidelines expected the students of classes IX and XI to learn more about personal health, environmental health, food and nutrition, control of diseases, consumer education, first aid, home nursing and safety measures (emphasis supplied).
NCERT Publication of 1999
3.6.0 NCERT brought a publication on ‘Adolescence Education in Schools’ containing package of following basic materials in 5 volumes: –
a) Adolescence Education : General Framework- I
b) Adolescence Education : Knowledge Base – II
c) Adolescence : Question and Answers- III
d) Students’ Activities – IV
e) Adolescence Education : Role of Adults – V
The entire package aimed at delineating the general framework of adolescence education and outlining its content areas in the context of Indian socio-cultural milieu.
3.6.1 In the General Framework Part-I – “The strategies and methods of curriculum transaction” following characteristics had to be focussed by imparting adolescence education:
a) Adolescence education had emerged in response to the pressing demand primarily emanating from outside the education system and not from within.
b) It dealt with contents that were very sensitive in nature and there was an in-built resistance in the existing system in respect of teaching these contents in schools.
c) It focussed on problems confronted by adolescents who had been traditionally treated as homogenous group which they were not.
3.6.2 The NCERT publication of 1999 contained information on HIV/AIDS, its prevention and control, sexually transmitted diseases, drug abuse, etc. It also mentioned the details about the students’ activities. The activities include Question Box, Group Discussion Value Clarification, Role Play, Case Study, Debate, Painting /Poster Competition, Essay Competition, Quiz Contest, etc.
3.6.3 The publication further indicated that Adolescents were at the threshold of adulthood and they needed authentic knowledge that help them understand the process of growing up in particular reference to their reproductive health needs, so that they were well equipped to cope with the problems which they confront during the transitional phase. Role of teachers and parents was also emphasized in imparting required information on adolescence.
3.6.4 The Committee was informed that the NCERT publication of 1999 was not much at variance with the National Curriculum Framework 1998. It emphasised the need of adolescence education for the grown up within the Indian socio-cultural milieu. In fact it advocated that the children should have proper knowledge about their bodies so that they were not lured to wrong information through their peers or other informal sources of learning.
3.6.5 The stage by stage evolution of the adolescence education as mentioned above culminated into a series of discussions amongst different stakeholders including the Central Government. The concept of Adolescence Education Programme, according to the Ministry transformed into reality with an Inter-ministerial meeting on HIV/AIDS held on 27th October, 2004 in the Chamber of the Minister of HRD which was attended by Ministers of Health and Family Welfare, Labour, Rural Development, Social Justice and Empowerment and Information and Broadcasting. In the meeting, it transpired that HIV prevention education would be implemented as a co-curriculum programme in all the 1.5 lakh secondary schools within the overall framework of age relevant health education package. The meeting culminated in the integrated Adolescence Education Programme (AEP) after a series of meetings with the key stakeholders, senior officials from the Ministry of HRD, NACO, UNICEF AND UNFPA. Ministry of HRD was identified as the lead agency for implementation of the programme with financial and technical support from NACO, UNICEF AND UNFPA (emphasis supplied).
IMPLEMENTATION OF ADOLESCENCE EDUCATION PROGRAMME (AEP)
3.6.6 The Ministry launched the Adolescence Education Programme (AEP) in 2005 in all the States and Union Territories in collaboration with NACO. The Programme was addressed primarily to the students of secondary and higher secondary stages (Classes IX-XII) and not for students of primary stage. The Adolescence Education Programme was aimed at the following two major objectives:
1. Organisation of life skill focussed co-curricular activities for students of secondary and higher secondary stages, (particularly for classes IX & XI); and
2. Integration of adolescence education elements in school syllabi and textbooks, teacher education courses, adult literacy programmes and other innovative educational programmes.
Adolescence Education Programme focused on three major content areas viz. (i) Process of Growing Up During adolescence; (ii) HIV/AIDS; and (iii) Drug (Substance) Abuse. These content areas are related to the needs of adolescent students, but are yet to be integrated in the school curriculum and teacher education courses.
3.6.7 As per HRD Ministry’s version, a lot of preparatory exercise had gone into the conceptualisation of AEP before the same was implemented across the country. The Ministry informed the Committee that AEP was jointly planned by MHRD and NACO (emphasis supplied) as a follow up of the decision taken by the inter-ministerial meeting held in October, 2004.
3.6.8 In 2005, MHRD scaled up the AEP in collaboration with NACO, as a classroom based co-curricular activity. The Programme was designed on the basis of key learning and best practices from the School AIDS Education Programme, the National Population Education Project and Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health which were being implemented in several schools across the country between 1993-2005.
3.6.9 AEP was not launched as a completely new educational programme but as an initiative to upscale the following three educational programmes that were already being implemented: –
(i) National Population Education Project (NPEP) was being implemented by 30 States and Union Territories. Adolescence education was made an important thrust area of the Project during 1993-94 and continued to be so until AEP was launched in 2005. Also, Adolescence Education was an integral part of the NPEP being implemented in the adult education and University education sectors from 1997 to 2002.
(ii) School AIDS Education Programme (SAEP) was being implemented by NACO since 1993-94 through State AIDS Control Societies in collaboration with State Education Departments.
(iii) A project on Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health (ARSH) in Schools was being implemented by five national level agencies – Council of Boards of School Education in India (COBSE), National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) and Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS). It continues to be implemented and National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) has been coordinating the implementation of the Programme.
These programmes had very limited outreach covering a small number of schools. Adolescence Education Programme was therefore launched as an umbrella programme to cover all the secondary and senior secondary schools of the country covering the target group of students in 14-18 age group with teachers, teacher trainers, heads of schools, curriculum and material developers, parents and various educational functionaries of different levels as important stakeholders.
3.6.10 One of the action point for implementation of the programme at the State level was formation of State Core Committees (SCC) under the Chairmanship of State Education Secretary. The SCC was to be the key implementing body for the programme at State level and it was advised to review tool kit at the State level and adapt/modify as required to tailor to State specific context.
3.6.11 The AEP tool kit was shared with all State partners during regional consultations for their review and feedback. The outcome of these meetings was that the States would adapt the AEP tool kit to their local context prior to print. It was also recommended that each State would establish a Sub Task Force within the State Coordination Committee to vet the materials developed at the State level to ensure that materials are in keeping with the on going process and in keeping with the HIV Epidemic and State cultural context. The words, images were to be reviewed and local language translations were accepted.
3.6.12 The Committee, with a view to critically assess the implementation of AEP, considered it appropriate to go into the course content of the programme. It was felt that the material used in the programme would give a fair idea about the way the AEP was to be implemented in the schools across the country. The AEP developed in collaboration with UNICEF and NACO had the course contents spread over in the following five books:-
(i) Teacher’s Work Book
(ii) Facilitator’s Hand Book for Training of Trainers
(iii) Facilitator’s Handbook for Refresher Teacher Training
(iv) Facilitator’s Handbook for Training Peer Educators; and
(v) Flip Chart
3.6.13 Teacher’s Work Book – This book contained chapters on Information / Advocacy, sessions with teachers and parents, class room guide to conduct Adolescence Education Programme which had been divided into four classroom sessions. These sessions highlight the details of changes during puberty in the anatomy of girls and boys, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS. It educated on the symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases, its causes and vulnerability of young people to HIV infection, basic facts about HIV/AIDS infection and its prevention, misconceptions related to HIV transmission and other related issues. One session exclusively addressed topics like self awareness and self esteem, values and beliefs, relationships, effective communication etc.
3.6.14 The book advocated interaction with teachers on very specific and minute details about the organs, their development and functions, spread of diseases though sexual contacts, myths and facts related to sex and sexuality. The Committee noted a number of activities finding place in the book. Notable amongst them was a play to be enacted among the students – to increase awareness about how HIV and STD’s could spread and how condom users were safe from HIV/AIDS infection and other STD diseases by using a condom during sexual intercourse.
3.6.15 Facilitators’ Handbook for Training of Trainers – This book based on the learning for life module under a chapter “HIV/AIDS scenario in the State and urgency of the Educational interventions required” mentioned that as per a survey conducted in different States, it was found that in the age group of 15-24 the knowledge about HIV/AIDS, its transmission etc was very less and the schools were the most effective means of providing information on HIV transmission prevention to young people. It further mentioned that AEP had been introduced as a critical initiative in reaching young people and providing them with skills and accurate information to protect themselves from HIV. The Handbook contained all description about sexual activities with diagrams and data.
3.6.16 Facilitators’ Handbook for Refresher Teacher Training: – The contents of the book were as follows:-
- Aim of the Adolescence Education Programme
- Purpose of the Handbook for Refresher Training of Teachers
- Agenda for the refresher training for teachers etc.
The main objective of the handbook was to enable the facilitators to effectively conduct the refresher training of teachers who had earlier undergone the first level of training under the AEP. The book had to be used in conjunction with the facilitators’ Handbook for Training of Trainers and included additional exercise to strengthen components that were highlighted in concurrent assessments and evaluation. For this purpose the teachers were expected to be well versed with the reproductive system, issues surrounding growing up, sexuality and gender.
3.6.17 Facilitators’ Handbook for Training Peer Educators– This book dealt with the role of the Peer Educator in the AEP content and methodology for conducting the Peer Educators’ Training etc. The book was a component of the toolkit prepared for the AEP and built on the Facilitators’ Handbook for Training of Trainers. It had been developed with a view to facilitate the Peer Educators’ training within the AEP for supporting the teacher in conducting the AEP and school-community projects to increase HIV/AIDS awareness in the community.
3.6.18 The handbook intended to equip every student in Grade IX-XI with correct knowledge and skills to protect themselves from HIV such as practicing abstinence, delaying sexual debut and resisting negative peer pressure that might lead them to adopt risk-taking behaviour. The handbook also contained material on physical development and physiological changes.
3.6.19 Flip Chart: Teaching Aid for the classroom: Flip Chart being the most debatable and controversial publication, the Committee concentrated on the material included therein. The Committee noted that the Flip Chart was prepared as an aid with images/information for the teachers to conduct different sessions of the AEP. The Teachers’ Workbook which complemented the Flip Chart provided that nodal teacher would conduct four sessions which will be covered in a time period of 16 hours; but if the nodal teacher felt that 16 hrs period was less, then the duration could be increased also. The Flip Chart was structured with a student page (an image page) and a reference/guide page facing the teacher, while teaching in the class. Important tips for using the Flip Chart were clearly outlined.
3.6.20 The Flip chart had attempted to link the growing up in a world with that of HIV/AIDS. In four sessions it covered the growing up, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, reinforcing skills essential for HIV prevention and Activity and Question Box Session. It mentioned that young people were among most vulnerable to risk behaviours and require accurate information and a safe space to discuss issues about growing up, reproductive health including safe sexual behaviour. The Flip Chart contained the following talking points for girls and boys separately:-
Talking points on girls:
(i) feeling during first menstruation
(ii) feelings when breasts started to develop
(iii) what happened every month during and after menstruation in girls
(iv) what was the menstrual hygiene, etc.
Talking points on boys:
(i) discussion on the feelings about their first erection or wet dream.
(ii) how their relationships with girls started to change with physiological changes in their bodies and face peer pressure about sex.
(iii) Discussion about first ejaculation, and erections (this is when the penis fills up with blood and becomes hard among the boys). Erections might occur when boys may think of sexual things or for no reason at all.
(iv) Voice change and growth of pubic hair.
3.6.21 A part of the Flip Chart discussed about the female reproductive system including the external as well as internal sexual organs with diagrams. In one of the key messages, it is mentioned that masturbation was normal and did not lead to blindness, impotency or any other abnormality. The Flip Chart under the chapter ‘Mapping your Body’, provided that each group in the class would be given a outline of the male and female reproductive systems to label the parts. The students would be asked to discuss the “local slang” versions of the private parts of the body as well as the different vernacular words in the mother tongue. The material advocated that masturbation was an alternative method of satisfying oneself and was not harmful. It further advocated that teenage pregnancy could be avoided by using condoms.
3.6.22 In another part the Flip Chart emphasised the triplet ABC, i.e. A for abstinence, B for be faithful and C for use condoms correctly and consistently in order to ensure prevention of HIV/AIDS. It mentioned that young people were under a lot of peer pressure to become sexually active and to ‘say no’ to sexual intercourse was not enough. Instead they were to be informed that they should not indulge in sexual intercourse, till a certain age. Advising the adults who wished to have multiple partners, it advocated that one should stick to only one partner to avoid risking his/her life to HIV. It further educated that if a person was indulging in penetrative sexual (vaginal, oral and anal) intercourse then he should use a condom. Young people needed to either stop having penetrative sexual intercourse or continue to have safe sex, like mutual masturbation, touching, rubbing etc. in other words they could abstain completely from sex or use a condom to avoid contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
3.6.23 At page No. 36, safer sex was been defined as ‘any sexual exercise which did not involve semen, vaginal fluids and blood entering another person’s body or coming into contact with broken skin such as:
(i) Non-penetrative sex-stimulating your own or your partner’s genitals (masturbation), thigh sex, massage or kissing;
(ii) Using a condom for vaginal or anal sexual intercourse;
(iii) Oral sex (mouth contact with male or female genitals) is less risky than unprotected vaginal or anal sex; and
(iv) No sex (abstinence) is 100% safe.
3.6.24 The implementation of AEP was preceded by eight regional workshops across the country led by MHRD and supported by NACO and UNICEF during the period of March to May 2005. These workshops paved the way for development of State Action Plans for AEP. The process further culminated in the organisation of a National level meeting of Secretaries of Education of States / UTs and Project Directors, State AIDS Control Societies on Adolescence Education jointly by MHRD and NACO. In the meantime, the AEP toolkit was designed through a series of consultations, adapting from various materials being used in the State level programme, life skills modules from various states. The pilot field testing of the AEP material was done in Delhi and Andhra Pradesh.
3.6.25 The Ministry informed that while NCERT was identified as the nodal agency for the programme, CBSE was one of the implementing agencies under AEP. The CBSE had prepared its own training material which was contextualized to suit the socio-cultural ethos of the country.
ROLE OF VARIOUS GOVERNMENT AGENCIES IN IMPLEMENTATION OF AEP
3.6.26 The implementation of any programme or scheme depends on the network of coordination amongst various agencies right from stage of conceptualisation of the programme upto its implementation and monitoring. AEP has been claimed to be the output of such team efforts. A perusal of conceptualisation of AEP indicated that MHRD, NCERT, CBSE, IGNOU, NACO, NIOS, UNICEF made concerted efforts in not only conceiving the programme but also in facilitating the so called consensus to introduce adolescence education in the schools. Role of some of these government agencies has been discussed in the succeeding paras.
Role of MHRD
3.6.27 The Ministry of HRD being the nodal Ministry was instrumental in framing the policies of Government and AEP was one of such programme which remained in the agenda of the Ministry for about last two decades. Pursuant to Inter-Ministerial meeting on October 2004, MHRD was identified as the lead agency in overall implementation of Adolescence Education Programme, with financial and technical support from NACO, UNICEF and UNFPA. As an administrative Ministry, MHRD remained involved with the issue of Adolescence Education Programme right from the stage of its conceptualisation. The Committee noted that Ministry had kept itself engaged in the process of consultations with all stakeholders including the State Governments by holding regular meetings, workshops and seminars from time to time. During the entire process of forging the consensus, the Ministry had proved as an important link for different agencies and stakeholders. The fact that the Ministry launched the Adolescence Education Programme in 2005 testifies to its crucial role in the subject raised through the petition.
Role of CBSE
3.6.28. As far as CBSE is concerned, it was one of the implementing agencies under the Adolescence Education Programme. According to the Ministry, the CBSE conducted activities like development of material for training and co-curricular activities in schools, organisations of advocacy activities for educationists, administrators, parents and community members, training of master trainers, teachers, the peer educators and organisations of co-curricular activities focused on life skills development. The CBSE had prepared its own training material which was contexualised to suit the socio-culture ethos of the country.
3.6.29 The CBSE had conducted numerous programme for principals and teachers in private schools affiliated to it,. The training material developed by CBSE for training programme under AEP had been prepared in consultation with NCERT and experts in the field, in addition to teachers, counsellory, psychologists and doctors. CBSE through various subject committees developed class-wise syllabi based on NCERT syllabi. NCERT text books are used in schools affiliated to CBSE which also developed some text books and other kinds of material.
3.6.30 The Ministry of HRD informed the Committee that CBSE remained involved in almost all stages of consultations for AEP. The fact that the petition called for a national debate on introduction of sex education in CBSE affiliated schools also necessitated to analyse the role of CBSE in formulation of AEP. During the oral evidence before the Committee, the Chairman, CBSE submitted they were not imparting sex education to their students. He stated that sex education was neither a part of any curriculum nor had been integrated into any subject of incorporated as a separate subject. CBSE is also not using the flip chart they have not received any complaint on AEP. He clarified that AEP has been, introduced from class IX and not class VI. He further clarified that under AEP, only adolescence health issues were being discussed and not the reproductive sex issues. CBSE had devised its own curriculum covering four volumes addressing the needs of the principals and the schools’, the resource persons and the nodal teachers and the needs of students as well. The Chairman, CBSE informed the Committee that the concerns raised by the petitioners regarding the cultural ethos of the country, had been taken into consideration by re-looking into the material afresh. Chairman, CBSE also apprised the Committee about the periodic consultation process followed with the parents about the material. During the examination of the petition, the Ministry apprised the Committee that a committee to review the AEP was constituted with Chairman of CBSE as its Chair of CBSE. The review done by that Committee was later shared with the Committee by the Secretary, M/o HRD and Chairman, CBSE.
Role of NCERT
3.6.31 The petitioners had alleged that the curriculum had been designed by UNICEF and NACO instead of NCERT which otherwise was the right agency for preparing the curriculum. They further alleged that in the garb of HIV prevention, NACO was trying to impose its mandate through its curriculum in the schools. These allegations prima-facie appeared to be convincing and the Committee considered it appropriate to assess the role of NCERT in framing AEP in that backdrop.
3.6.32 On a query about the mandate of NCERT, the Ministry informed the Committee that NCERT had periodically revised the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for School Education. The draft of NCF prepared or revised by NCERT was placed before the Central Advisory Board on Education (CABE) for its approval. All the Education Ministers of States, besides several others, including educationists, were members of CABE. Once the NLCF was approved by CABE it was used by all the States as a curricular policy document. Based on the National Curricular Framework, the NCERT developed proto-type subject-wise syllabus and text books for all the classes. The NCERT syllabi and text books were used in all the Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas. States also used the NCERT syllabi and text books as prototype material, quite a few of them adapted /adopted NCERT text books. Elaborating on the role of NCERT, the Ministry clarified that it had been associated with the process of planning of Adolescence Education Programme right from the stage of Inter-Ministerial Meeting. The group preparing the tool kit had interaction with the NCERT faculty that was working in the area of adolescence education as a part of National Population Education Project. NCERT had also been coordinating the implementation of the project on Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health in the schools.
Role of NACO
3.6.33 The issue of NACO in framing the AEP curriculum had been a contentious issue. The Ministry informed that since NACO was implementing the School AIDS Education Programme in schools through SACS and wanted mainstreaming of adolescence education programme in all schools, it was felt that NACO, being a Central Government agency, would be the right organization to prepare the material in consultation with other stakeholders. The Ministry of HRD was made the nodal agency and took steps ahead in collaboration with NACO, UNICEF and UNFPA to implement AEP.
3.6.34 The Ministry of HRD in reply to a question had admitted that the current programme was designed on the basis of key learnings and best practices from the School AIDS Education Programme, the National Population Education Project and Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health which were being implemented in several schools across states between 1993 to 2005. In 2005, Ministry of HRD scaled up the AEP in collaboration with NACO as a class room based co-curriculum activity.
3.6.35 Director-General, NACO in her submission before the Committee said that the life skill education introduced in 1998 was earlier known as School AIDS Programme. In the year 2002, it was felt that the children should be taught about the growing up process the relationship with the opposite sex, saying no to sexual exploitation apart from the hormonal and body changes and the physical aspect of the reproductive health among young children and adolescents. From 2002 till 2005 there was intense consultation with NCERT, parents and teachers in the States as well as national level and the AEP was finally launched in June, 2005. She conceded that the programme received flak as the training and pedagogy in which the material should be taught were not correct. According to her, a Committee had been constituted to review these materials in consultation with NCERT, CBSE, VIMHANS, etc. so as to have a proto-type developed in consultation with all stakeholders.
3.6.36 In this context, the Committee is contrained to make certain observations on the role played by NACO in AEP. To the best of Committee’s knowledge, NACO is an agency under the administrative control of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare whose primary function is to create awareness about HIV/AIDS, disseminate scientific knowledge about the dreaded disease and to control its spread. How and under what circumstances NACO was asked to play a key role in AEP, remained unclear to the Committee. After having gone into the programme in detail, the Committee has come to the inevitable conclusion that the real objective of AEP appeared to vitiate the academic environment of the schools and cause incalculable damage to the impressionable young minds and thereby corrupt the future citizens of our country. According to the Committee’s assessment, attempt had been made to lend legitimacy to AEP by projecting an alarming scenario of school children being a high risk group for HIV/AIDS and thereby the need to impart education about the dreaded disease amongst school children by integrating AEP into the School Curriculum.
3.6.37 What is more intriguing is that even though MHRD has been designated as the lead agency to implement AEP, NACO had initiated a review of AEP material in the face of criticism, much before MHRD ordered a national level review. At one point of time AEP was being reviewed in parallel by the different agencies. The matter did not end there. Having completed its review, NACO was reported to have attempted to introduce AEP in school syllabus of some States independent of the exercise undertaken by MHRD at the behest of this Committee. This overenthusiam of NACO in keeping itself firmly entrenched in the School Curriculum through the so called AEP, is quite perplexing to the Committee.
Chapter – IV
RESPONSE OF STATE GOVERNMENTS TO AEP
4.0 ‘Education’ being a ‘Concurrent’ subject, it was important to have consultations with State Governments and solicit their responses on AEP. The Ministry of HRD claimed that such consultations were undertaken with State Governments being important stakeholders. In response to a question sent to the Ministry of HRD regarding the status of implementation of AEP in various States and UTs, the Ministry informed that there were several media reports about the opposition to AEP in some of the States and they had received official communications in that regard from those States. According to the Ministry, all the 28 States and 7 Union Territories initiated the AEP in 2005. They had prepared their respective plans of Action. The States/UTs were advised to adopt the toolkit circulated to them.
4.1 The Ministry communicated the following state-wise status of implementation of AEP:-
Gujarat : The training material and the curriculum provided to schools and topics of adolescence education regarding growth and development and sex education were reviewed and after due consideration the State Government decided to abolish the Adolescence Education Programme.
Karnataka : The State Government was not opposed to the Programme as such. They had planned to review the Programme under the Charimanship of Hon’ble Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Government of Karnataka.
Kerala : The Government was not opposed to the Programme. They reviewed some parts of the materials being used under the Programme.
Maharashtra : The State Government was not opposed to the Adolescence Education Programme. However, Hon’ble Minister of Education, Government of Maharashtra had given the following three assurances on the floor of Legislative Assembly.
(i) Sex Education will not be given in schools in the State.
(ii) Sex Education topics will be banned, and
(iii) Teachers’ handbook regarding the Adolescence Life Skills Education Programme will be banned.
Rajasthan: Teaching of AEP contents in schools would go against Indian culture.
Uttar Pradesh: The implementation of AEP was stopped owing to certain objectionable materials.
Madhya Pradesh: The State Government was not opposed to the Adolescence Education Programme. In fact the State Government had already constituted a Committee to review the material and resume the programme after necessary changes.
Chattisgarh: The State Government had set up a Committee to review the material being used under the programme.
4.2 This Committee also decided to obtain the written comments of States/UTs. Accordingly, the Secretariat wrote a letter on 12th October, 2007 to all the States/UTs to ascertain the status of AEP. In response, 12 States/UTs furnished their views. State Governments of Meghalaya, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Mizoram informed that they had implemented AEP. Goa and Haryana were likely to follow suit after some modifications in the existing syllabus. In UT of Chandigarh and the State of Arunachal Pradesh, it was under consideration while the Government of Rajasthan and Andaman and Nicobar Islands Administration had not implemented the same. The Government of Uttar Pradesh proposed that all political parties should meet prior to taking any decision about implementing AEP in the schools of respective States.
Implementation of AEP in NCT Delhi
4.3 Government of NCT of Delhi had prepared its own module named YUVA in two volumes to implement this programme. The Committee had scrutinised the YUVA volumes and observed that the material contained therein for implementing AEP was highly objectionable bordering on voyeurism. As an illustration, certain portions from Yuva –II are reproduced below which were found to be pornographic in nature:-
Page-32: Class IX:
“The teacher should collect some picture from old magazines, depicting a pregnant woman, a small family, advertisement about contraceptive methods before the session and pin them on the board. This will create curiosity among the participants and build the right atmosphere for the session.
Greet the students and ask for one or more volunteers to explain how a baby is made. The students can raise their hands if they wish to help other out or to question or clarify any information.
Most of the participants will not be using the scientific terminology when they are with their peers. They will need to be able to use the correct or most descriptive vernacular for many of these ports. This can be difficult because of cultural taboos which consider many of these words as “rude words”, but it is important that they practice saying these words. You should expect a lot of shyness, embarrassment, giggling and laughter. You need to remind the students that it is important that they are able to use the correct words in their lives and in the training they will be conducting. You should also remind them that the purpose is not to embarrass but gather accurate information to protect their health.
Teacher may refer to the fact sheet for discussion on the subject.”
“Do you think touching private parts like breast, vagina, stomach, chest and thighs by a man can cause pregnancy in a girl?
Does sleeping together (side by side) by a man and a woman lead to pregnancy in a girl? Mention established methods of a woman becoming pregnant.
Do you think sexual intercourse between men and women always results in pregnancy?”
“Conception occurs when semen with live sperms is deposited in the vagina or cervix and fertilizes a live ovum.
Missing monthly periods, nausea, vomiting, enlargement of the nipples, full and tender breasts, positive pregnancy test etc. are signs of pregnancy.
Every sexual intercourse does not lead to pregnancy. The ovum and the sperm should be live and have suitable uterine conditions for fertilization and implantation.
Pregnancy cannot occur by acts related to sex like touching, kissing, pelting, etc.; these are mainly done to show affection and also increase the pleasure of having sex .”
Note for Teacher
“Safe sex requires adjusting ones feelings and desires according to the circumstances. Safe sex is a sexual relationship in which there is minimal risk of acquiring STIs and HIV/AIDS and also pregnancy. Abstinence, being faithful to one trustworthy (who is turn is faithful too) and healthy sexual partner and regular use of condom during penetrative sex are well known safe sex practice. Sexual adjustment is part of a person’s total development into a mature individual. All adolescents need to know the details of safe sex.
Sex v/s Sexuality
During adolescence, sexual exploration and expression is common and normal. Sexual relationships may begin in adolescence either within or outside marriage. While sexual activity can be pleasurable, the consequences of unwanted and unprotected sex in adolescents can have life long health and economic consequences. Another part of our sexual identify is the sex that adolescents are attracted to romantically. This is called our sexual orientation. This can be heterosexual (attracted to the opposite sex), bisexual (attracted to both sexes) or homosexual (attracted to the same sex)”
In view of the aforesaid explicit study material, the Committee decided to call the Chief Secretary of NCT for oral evidence before the Committee on 21st February, 2008.
4.4 While the details of interaction with of Delhi alongwith the Education Secretary the Government of NCT of Delhi have been covered in Chapter II, it is relevant here to mention that the Committee had drawn the attention of the Chief Secretary to the national review exercise being undertaken in the matter by a Committee under the Chairmanship of Chairman, CBSE and directed the Government of NCT of Delhi not to introduce the revised volumes in their schools unless and until the national review had been completed and a final decision taken by the Government of India to ensure that AEP curriculum of Delhi Government Schools was in sync with the national consensus on the issue.
Media Reports on Developments in States
4.5 Though responses from most of the States were not received, the Committee kept a close track of print media coverage of the development on AEP implementation in States. The Committee noted that Maharashtra Government’s reported attempt to introduce sex education in classes IX and XI from next academic session was opposed in the Legislative Assembly on 23rd April, 2008 causing the Speaker of the Assembly to ask Government to put in on hold. This was the second occasion when effort of State Government to implement sex education in the schools of the States caused uproar in the Legislative Assembly. The Committee also noted NACO’s initiative to coordinate with the State Aids Control Society for launching AEP in Andhra Pradesh from 15th September, 2008. NACO has also been reportedly active in Kerala in organizing interactive sessions on AEP with different stakeholders.
Lukewarm response of States
4.6 This Committee was given to understand that the Review Committee constituted by HRD Ministry under the Chairmanship of Chairman, CBSE to review the National Adolescence Education Programme also sought the views of the State Governments in January/February, 2008 on the material being used by CBSE. However, only 6 states responded. Most of these States except Gujarat, where the AEP was put on hold, appreciated the CBSE prepared material. The details of comments received from the States/UTs find place later in this Chapter, under the heading ‘Review of AEP Syllabus’. In a nutshell, the response of States/UTs on AEP has been lukewarm.
RESPONSE OF STAKEHOLDERS
4.7 The introduction of AEP has been opposed by majority of the stakeholders except the Central Government agencies who conceived the idea. Receipt of a petition that too from a representative of the teaching community and a social activist objecting to such introduction is a testimony to the simmering opposition to AEP. Objection to AEP in schools was so strong and vociferous that the Committee decided to issue a Press Communiqué in various newspapers (in English, Hindi and vernacular languages) to elicit the views of people from different strata of the society. The response from the public was overwhelming and as many as 45,000 (forty five thousand) memoranda in the form of postcards, inland letters, registered posts from a wide cross-section of the society including the parents, teachers, ex-MPs, doctors, academicians, students and NGOs were received. Only 17 memoranda favoured of AEP. A Delhi-based NGO namely Shiksha Bachao Samiti submitted a letter under oath before the Committee stating that they had received 4,15,000 memoranda from different parts in the country opposing the move of the Government to implement the AEP in schools.
4.8.0 The summary of representations received from various stakeholders against the policy of introduction of Adolescence Education Programme (AEP) in the School is given in the succeeding paragraphs
4.8.1 The contents of the curriculum of Adolescent Education Progrmme (AEP) has been designed by NACO allegedly with financial support from UNICEF & UNFPA and the NCERT which has expertise in curriculum development suitable to cultural needs of our society, has been left out in designing the course. The National Curriculum Frameworks of 1978, 1988 2000 and 2005 designed by NCERT harped upon the notion of having respect towards the opposite sex and little bit about healthy sex and sexuality. But the present syllabi has overlooked those aspects highlighted by the NCERT. The alleged acceptance of foreign funding for advocacy of the curriculum had its hidden agenda by which the western countries would impose their culture upon us and destroy the value system of the country. The AEP in its present form would strike at root of guru-shishya parampara, besides the value system of the society and the institution of family. Eighty percent of families in India are still joint families which have resisted cultural onslaught form the west and have still remained intact. The alleged foreign funding in the elementary education under the specter of HIV/AIDS is a blatant example of cultural invasion and an attempt to disintegrate our joint family system and the institution of marriage (ek pati/patni) and to destroy our cultural values which have been nourished for the last ten thousand years.
4.8.2 The material of AEP particularly “Flip Chart” and reference book for teachers namely, “Teachers’ Work Book” and “Facilitators, Hand Book for Training of Trainers” carried explicit details about alternative methods of sex like anal and oral sex, method of safe sex, etc. which are obnoxious and would ignite the curiosity of students about experimentation, resulting in teenage pregnancies and promiscuity. The use of condom, a proclaimed method of safe sex, for protection from Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and unwanted pregnancies, is not actually cent percent safe. Instead of telling the teenagers that they were not physically and emotionally ready for sex and that HIV/AIDS has no cure and nothing is safer than abstinence till marriage, the material advocates use of condom for safe sex, which is actually not so. Marriage between a boy and girl below twenty-one and eighteen years of age, respectively, is an offence and sex with someone below sixteen years of age, even with consent, tantamount to rape. The material further advocates that sex is a ‘wholesome pleasurable experience’ which would prod their sense organ to experiment such thing under peer pressure, which is not only immoral but also illegal in the eyes of law.
4.8.3 The reference books for teachers contain units of interactive session in the classroom where teacher would instruct the boy & a girl volunteer to touch different parts of each other’s body closing their eyes till the other feels uncomfortable. It implies that the minor students would be asked to touch private parts of each other which would outrage the modesty of girls. The teacher who carries custodial burden having command and control in the class room might be vulnerable to criminal charges under Sections 354, 355 & 509 of Indian Penal Code (IPC). Allied to that, the senior officers who are responsible for formulation and implementation of the policy might be dragged to the court of law as abettors of such crime. It may trigger communal tension in case a boy of one community touch body parts of a girl of a minority community. It has been apprehended that there might be increase in instances of sexual harassment in the classroom either by the teacher or follow students of opposite sex. Further, showing naked figures of male & female with full focused description of male & female genitalia to minor children might attract penal action under the sections of IPC dealing with obscenity. The material teaches that masturbation is a physiological need and considered as not harmful to health. It is not the case for the protein deficient boys and girls especially from the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families and they might be prone to tuberculosis in case of such regular practice and while trying to prevent AIDS, the programme would be exposing them to another disease.
4.8.4 Once sex education is introduced, there would be peer pressure amongst growing children for its experimentation, which would increase rape in society as consent below the age of sixteen years is not considered as consent in the consensual sex. Again in consequential termination of teenage pregnancies would contribute to increase of crime graph of the society. Therefore it would add more problem than solving those.
4.8.5 In western countries debate is doing the rounds for discontinuance of sex-education which had various negative fallouts viz. teenage pregnancies leading to decrease of virginity age. The teenage pregnancies are increasing in those countries inspite of having advanced knowledge and affordability of safe sex. Schools in France are quipped with nurses to distribute contractive pills to the girls in the morning following the night in which she had unsafe sex. Schools in the U.K. were connected to abortion centers to terminate teenage pregnancies. It has became mandatory in the USA to seek consent of parents before imparting such programme to their children. We should not turn a blind eye to the repercussions of sex education in the western countries, which may manifest in our country shortly.
4.8.6 Even as the teachers who are mature individuals cannot be stated to have full control over the powerful instinct for sex, how could a minor be asked to exercise restraint after giving them lessons on sex. Where children are dying due to diseases like diarrhoea, tuberculosis, cancer which are equally fatal like AIDS, what is the necessity of exposing minors students to the safe sex for AIDS prevention without taking focused measures to control other fatal diseases.
4.8.7 Sex is not a subject of education; rather time and nature would teach everyone in due course. Sex education would destroy the career and character of the adolescents. The syllabus should be shown to the parents before imparting the same to their children by obtaining former’s consent.
4.8.8 Sex education is against the ethos of our society. It would rather uproot the cultural values and belief which we have cherished since the vedic era. Instead of teaching them abstinence in sex, the material promotes sexual gratification by way of masturbation and homosexuality amongst adolescents. Mahatma Gandhi’s idea on sexual knowledge that education should be used for controlling or overcoming sexual passion instead of stimulating it, might be taught to adolescents. If sex education was introduced in schools as has been done in European countries, we would have condom dispensing machines and abortion clinics in our schools soon.
4.8.9 The cultural attitude of sexuality in India is different from the western world. Sex has been considered as a sacred union. In our culture, self-imposed restraint and abstinence are societal regulations. Bhagwat Gita has restricted sex within the institution of marriage for procreation. Indian sociological thought gives importance to niyama (the right way of deciding things), sayama (restraint) and sradha (reverence/sanctity). Sex (Kama) has been prescribed to be exercised within the boundary of dharma (righteousness). Otherwise unbridled sexuality prevalent in the Northern Hemisphere might corrupt our society. Our cherished goal of upholding ethical excellence might end up in ethical vacuum as had happened in western society. Therefore, our children should be taught self-restraint, character-building, respect for people and wisdom, in place of the current curriculum on sex-education.
4.8.10 There was no need for such education in the schools as it has been traditionally imparted by parents and blood relations in joint family, for centuries in our country. Chapters in the Biology syllabus in enough to give rudimentary ideas about the reproductive organs. At best a chapter on AIDS can be added in the syllabus to spread its awareness. Sixteen hours capsule course of AEP for adolescences in uncalled for.
4.8.11 The policy of the Ministry of Human Resource Development is violative of the spirit of the Constitution and is particular Art 39 (f). The minor students should be taught specifically about intellectual and physical strength, cleanliness, deep thinking, purity of thought, spiritual strength, meditation, instead of sex-education.
4.8.12 It has been alleged that the figures of AIDS patients in the western countries were not deliberately made available whereas the figures of HIV/AIDS patients in India, where self-restraint is taught and practiced, have been used by the authorities to impose the western model of sex education upon us. The discrepancy in the figures of AIDS patients maintained by NACO has been pointed out. The claim of NACO that adolescents are more most vulnerable to AIDS is not accepted.
4.8.13 Instances of teachers without science background being trained in the AEP and reluctance of majority of them to take the classes in view of obnoxious contents of the syllabus, have been brought to the knowledge of the Committee. Instead of sex education and alternate method of sexual gratification, adolescents should be taught abstinence in sex and sublimation of sexual energy into spiritual energy for development of character and career.
4.8.14 The material in its present form was not acceptable as the curriculum to be taught to adolescents in the classroom. There should be a review of the curriculum in the greater public interest.
4.8.15 Proper consultations with teachers, parents, students, sexologists, psychologists have not been taken.
4.8.16 Recommendations contained in the 86th Report of Parliamentary Standing Committee on HRD in the context of NCERT curriculum have been ignored.
4.8.17 Why NACO was entrusted the task of preparing AEP material when education is the area of educationists; NCERT & SCERT should prepare the curriculum. It is not the mandate of NACO to prepare school curriculum.
4.9.0 Summary of representations received from organizations/individuals in favour of AEP and on issues connected therewith is given in the succeeding paragraphs.
4.9.1 Sex education should be given in schools because children do not get proper education through mass media or even through their parents. Children are often sexually abused at home or outside and through sex education, they will come to know how to protect themselves from such abuse. A teacher of same sex is the best guide to teach him/her about sexuality/maturity at teen.
4.9.2 Children should get well conceived basic information from a supportive and non-titillating source, otherwise they will seek information from inaccurate and potentially harmful sources. That is why sex education at school is a welcome move.
4.9.3 Youngsters often get trapped in bad habits due to invasion of pornographic materials on internet, magazines, movies, videotapes etc. Lack of sex education is also one of the important reasons for such diversions. Since, now the society is no more as inhibited as it used to be, sex education should be incorporated as a subject.
4.9.4 Sex-education is to be imparted with a view to spread the knowledge about AIDS/HIV and to contain it, and also sex-related crimes, violence, human trafficking, sexual abuse of children, licentious behaviour, promiscuity, anarchy in sexual life, spread pornography. Sex education, as planned now and in the situations obtaining would directly and indirectly covey to young minds that there is nothing wrong in instant satiation of sexual instinct, only if ‘safe sex’ is practiced. A sincere, comprehensive movement on the strength of correct understandings of proper and higher morality and ethics, involving parents, guardians, teachers and all right thinking people is necessary to create social awareness on the issues and to find the right path to come out of the problem.
4.9.5 Sex and sexuality education is the process of helping the young as a guided tour though this journey of acquiring information and forming attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual identity, relationships and intimacy. It is also about developing skills of young people so that they make well informed choices about their behaviour and feel confident and competent about acting on these choices. Sex education is essential to protect oneself from abuse, exploitation, unintended pregnancies, STD and HIV/AIDS. Sex education works when it is started early before teenagers reach puberty, and before they develop a pattern of behaviour. It is important not to delay providing information to young people but it should begin when they are young. Basic information provides the foundation on which more complex knowledge is built up over time.
4.9.6 . At present, sex education as taught in the public schools is incomplete as it does not cover morality associated with sex, sexual dysfunctions and deviations and the institution of marriage. Parents, elder brother and sisters have also to play a role in imparting sex education to their children and younger siblings, respectively.
4.9.7 Sex education should be called as Human Reproductive Science. The subject should be taught as one of the topic in Biology. Separate classes should to be held for both boys & girls. Basic information about sexual organs and their hygiene may be taught from sixth standard onwards. The details about how a link is formed can be taught from VIII Standard onwards. Moral values in life and advise as to why premarital sex is to be avoided should also be given simultaneously during these teaching sessions. This will balance the emotional status of the child so that the child will not indulge in any unwanted sexual activities after the sex education classes.
4.9.8 Indigenous methodology should be used to impart “Social Health Education” (SHE) and a three pronged approach be adopted to implement the programme:
Phase-I Information and Awareness (IA)
Dispel myths & misconceptions
Phase-II Empowerment with Accountability (EA)
Minimize risk behaviour
Maximize responsible behaviour
Phase-III Collective/community action (CA)
Involve individuals and groups
Facilitate a movement
Schools- School intervention will be at IV levels. The first two level for the teachers, the third for the peer educators and the fourth for general students.
4.9.9 Sex education should be a part of the parent-child and teacher-student communication process and not a clinical lecture that children cannot relate to:
Parents do not realize that clinically given sex education reduces it to a lesson in reproductive biology.
It disconnects sex from sexuality. While school students know about AIDS but they fail to connect it with their own situation.
Students are incapable of handling such information as they have no knowledge about sexuality.
[Sexuality includes a gamut of emotional and physical issues-ranging from relationships, commitment, communication and sexual attitude to an individual’s maleness or femaleness]
4.9.10 There can be 4D approach to learning: Discover, Develop, Design and Deliver-New innovative methods of sexuality education have to be invented and developed to suit different age groups. It is better not to wait for puberty to answer questions because by that stage children would have got the information from mostly wrong sources from their friends, medial and the internet.
REVIEW OF AEP SYLLABUS
4.10.0 The Committee had, in its initial stage of the examination of the petition, decided that the AEP material needed a review. After its interaction with the petitioners and others, the Committee was of the unanimous view that the AEP in its present form was not acceptable as a curriculum to be taught to the adolescents in the classroom. While the Committee was engaged in the process of interactions with stakeholders, the Government had already initiated the review of AEP material. The Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy confirmed before the Committee that a Committee under the Chairmanship of Chairman, CBSE had been constituted to review the AEP. On a query as to the time frame of the review, the Secretary informed that the Ganguly Committee would submit its report within three months. Since the review was underway, the Committee felt it appropriate to refer an ‘ Aide-Memoire of all the representations received by it, to the Ministry of HRD for consideration of the Review Committee. The Committee directed that AEP should be put on hold throughout the country, till the review exercise was completed.
4.10.1 The Ministry of Human Resource Development had constituted a Review Committee under the Chairmanship of Shri Ashok Ganguly, Chairman, CBSE with the following as its Members :-
1) Director, Ministry of Human Resource Development (Dept. of School Education & Literacy).
2) Director General, National AIDS Control Organisation.
3) Prof. J.L. Pandey, Project Coordinator, National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT).
4) Dr. Jitendra Nagpal, Senior Psychiartist. VIMHANS.
5) The Secretary, National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).
6) Director, SCERT, Government of Andhra Pradesh.
7) Commissioner, NVS, New Delhi.
8) Commissioner, KVS, New Delhi
4.10.2 The Review Committee further constituted a sub-Committee comprising the following to review the AEP training package :-
1) Ms. Piya Thakur, Assistant Commissioner, Nominee of KVS
2) Ms. Asheema Singh, Programme Director, NIOS, New Delhi.
3) Ms. Indu Kaushik, Principal, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sector 3, Sadiq Nagar, Masjid Moth, New Delhi – 49.
4) Ms. Renu Laroiya, Principal, DAV Public School, Dayanand Vihar, New Delhi.
4.10.3 The Committee had occasion to take cognizance of the methodology and the approach adopted by the Review Committee while reviewing the AEPs syllabus. It was noted that the Review Committee adopted a scientific method in reviewing the material by its individual members, the inclusion of individual feedback, placing questionnaire on public domain, sending the four manuals to all State Governments and obtaining feedback from the schools, parents and experts. The Review Committee placed its mandate in the public domain in respect of which a total 66 responses from individual stakeholders were received on the CBSE web site. The stakeholders provided significant inputs by way of suggestions for including more areas such as Anger Management, Decision Making, Moral Intelligence, Emotional Control, Personal Hygiene, Nutrition, Sex Abuse etc. in the AEP. The feedback further emphasized on career counseling development, sensitivity towards marginalized sections, importance of family environment and imparting of life skills.
4.10.4 The Review Committee also requested CBSE schools where Advocacy Programmes for Principals were conducted, to send their feedback on AEP material prepared by CBSE. Wide ranging suggestions for and against AEP material were received from 49 schools. Certain experts also gave valuable suggestions on the AEP. The Review Committee decided that the MHRD-NACO toolkit as well as CBSE’s existing material, needed to be re-written keeping in mind the concerns of the adolescents in the larger canvas of the entire country. No line diagrams or anatomical details as presented in the earlier material prepared by NACO need to be reproduced as these are already part of Biology portion of Science Syllabus at Class X level. Similarly the Committee’s attention was also drawn to the book ‘YUVA’ published by the Directorate of Education, Delhi and it was of the view that some of the activities as enunciated in the ‘YUVA’ need not be replicated at the school level. The Manuals now prepared were suggestive and had followed an approach of providing options and choices in the activities so that the Schools/States could pick and choose based on the local cultural context. The Review Committee recommended that the parents should be taken into confidence before AEP is implemented in schools. There should be periodic interactions with parents to ensure their active participation at every step
4.10.5 The Review Committee recommended that the following new material may be used by the State Governments after necessary adaptations:-
- Facilitators’ Handbook – To be used by Resource Persons/Facilitators and Master Trainers
- Teachers’ Workbook – To be used by Nodal Teachers/Peer Educators.
- Advocacy Manual – To be used by Facilitators / Nodal Teachers for sensitizing Heads of Institutes.
The reference material had been prepared for the Heads of Schools and Teachers. It would be available with the State or Head of the Schools and also on the website http://www.cbse.nic.in/.
4.10.6 It was informed that a total of seven meetings of the Review Committee were held to review the National Adolescence Education Programmes between 10th January, 2008 to 7th March, 2008.
4.10.7 The review done by the Ganguly Committee was reported to the Chairman of the Committee on 22nd April, 2008, who after going through the same asked the Secretary, (School Education and Literacy), Ministry of HRD to pursue with the State Governments for their response to the revised material within a cut off date, prepare the draft of new curriculum based on the review and take steps for approval of the competent authorities for implementation, after taking this Committee into confidence. The Chairman of the Committee clarified that it was not on a fault finding mission; instead it intended to strengthen the education system of the country based on a consensus emerging out of a national dialogue and debate on the subject.
Chapter – V
EXAMINATION OF SUBJECT BY THE COMMITTEE
5.0 Introduction of ‘Adolescence Education Programme’ in the Schools has been a debatable issue. Being matter of extraordinary social relevance the subject needed appropriate examination by way of widest possible interactions and deliberations with all sections of the society. The Committee was aware that it took twelve long years of deliberations at Governmental level before introducing AEP in the schools. A close scrutiny of the subject was therefore inevitable after a petition on the subject was referred to the Committee. The Committee therefore decided to inquire the issue threadbare and come to some logical conclusion.
5.1 To begin with, it was decided to put the subject of the petition in the public domain with a view to obtain maximum possible feedback. The subject thus became a topic for public discourse. The process of examination included the hearing of the petitioners and experts in Delhi, issuance of a Press Release, taking evidence of representatives of Central Government, analysing written and oral views of the representatives of State Governments, taking field visits to schools and interacting with the stakeholders including students, teachers, parents, educationists, leaders of religious groups etc.
5.2 The examination of the subject by the Committee commenced with its sitting in Delhi when the petitioners and the others deposed before it. The petitioners wanted to brief the Committee with a Power-point presentation but looking at the explicit contents in the hard copy of the presentation the Committee decided not to view such presentation. The witnesses were however given ample time to present their views before the Committee and the discussion spilled over to two meetings. The Members of the Committee raised some pointed and pertinent questions relating to the petition. The feedback received during interactions enable the Committee to decide its future course of action.
5.3 One of the effective methods of assessing public opinion was to issue a Press Release in the media, both print and electronic, across the country inviting suggestions, views/comments of individuals, institutions and organisations and to generate a serious national debate on the subject. This Press Release proved to be a powerful tool in projecting the subject in the public domain (i) An unprecedented number of Memoranda were received from the length and breadth of the country. All the suggestions received in response to the Press-Release were considered by the Committee and an ‘Ad Memoire’ prepared which was referred to the Ministry of HRD for consideration of the Ganguly Committee. .
5.4 With a view to strengthen its examination process, a comprehensive questionnaire was sent to the Government. The replies to the questionnaire gave an important insight into the intricacies of the subject.
5.5 ‘Education’ being a ‘Concurrent’ subject, the Committee was of the considered view that inputs from the States were necessary in the formulation of a national consensus on the subject. It was felt that the State Governments being the implementing agencies, would better guide the Committee by sharing their field experiences in implementation of AEP in their schools. As directed by the Committee, the Secretariat wrote letters to all States/UTs seeking the implementation status of AEP. In response only 13 States/UTs had sent their views. The Committee heard the representatives of six States during its visits. The representatives of Delhi Government and others were specifically called before the Committee with a view to ascertain the status of ‘Yuva’ School Adolescence Education Programme being run in Delhi Government schools. The meetings with the representatives of the State Governments could be described between serious sessions to friendly interactions.
5.6 In order to ensure fruitful interactions and for better feedback on the subject, the Committee during its field visits adopted flexible procedures so that all those who were interested to share their view with the Committee could do so without any difficulty and officials. Before proceeding on the visits, the regional print media of the respective places were requested to give adequate publicity to the purpose of the Committee’s visits so that interested stakeholders, including teachers, students, parents, leaders of religious groups, educationists, NGOs interested in the subject could appear before the Committee and present their viewpoints. At the venues of the interactions, unofficial atmosphere was created where the stakeholders including the general public could come and express their views on the subject before the members of the Committee in a free and frank manner. The general public had also an option to submit written memoranda before the Committee. The students, teachers and parents also got opportunities to interact with the Committee during visits to the respective schools. The whole exercise enabled the Committee to acquire as much better significant feedback.
5.7 During the whole process of examination of the subject, the Committee had kept an open mind and afforded adequate opportunity to all sections of the civil society and the authorities to share their perceptions with it. Directions issued by the Committee to the authorities from time to time were based on extensive examination and direct feedback from different sources.
5.8 During the examination of the subject the Committee also kept a close track of behind the scene developments related to implementation of the AEP in some States in a surreptitious manner, as reported by the media. The Committee also took cognizance of a parallel exercise of introducing revised sex education modules being undertaken by NACO in some states. The Committee had on numerous occasions disapproved the role of NACO in the arena of school education and it was therefore quite surprising hat NACO remained active on AEP front despite being clearly indicated by the Committee not to interfere in the area of functioning which rightly belonged to the HRD Ministry. The confusion which prevailed due to divergent approaches taken by State Governments and UT. Administrations in implementing AEP and review of AEP syllabus being undertaken by two agencies of the Government, engaged the attention of the Committee. At times it appeared to the Committee as if MHRD and NACO are pulling in different directions and no one seemed to know who was in real control. Occasionally, the Committee got the impression that MHRD was acquiescing in the role being played by NACO.
6.0 This has been one of the very few subjects on which the Committee has spent a great deal of time spread over a period of one year and five months spanning into nine sittings, visits to half a dozen States and interactions with hundreds of persons from various walks of life including experts, academia, students, teachers, parents, psychologists, psychiatrists, educationists, civil society activists, leaders of religious groups et al.
6.1 The Committee discovered that in the name of ‘Adolescence Education’, multiple agencies of the Government of India had tried to introduce a syllabus in the school curriculum which had the potential to pollute the young and impressionable minds of students by exposing them to indecent material. It was shocking to note how so many agencies of the Government could come together, conceptualize a syllabus, provide all kinds of justification for it, spent substantial amount of money in the printing of the material and then circulate it throughout the country with the avowed aim of providing scientific information and knowledge to the adolescents whereas the reality was that the AEP volumes were highly objectionable and bound to be rejected lock, stock and barrel. According to the Committee, Adolescence Education Programme (AEP) is a cleverly used euphemism whose real objective was to impart sex education to school children and promote promiscuity. The Committee observes that had this petition not been brought before it and had the media not highlighted the seamy side of AEP, the authorities would have gone ahead in full stream in implementing the AEP throughout the country which would have done incalculable damage to our school children who are the future citizens of this country. It is ironical to note that dissemination of information about HIV/AIDS, and its prevention and propagation of safe sex by using condoms, are the key features of the AEP meant for the target group of school children between 14 to 18 years which was sought to be passed on to the school curriculum in the guise of AEP. The Committee had gone at great length to find out whether there really existed any justification for introduction of AEP, with focus on HIV/AIDS, but did not come across any credible study or survey which could establish that the school children in the age group of 14 to 18 years were in the high risk group prone to HIV/AIDS.
6.2 School education and the curriculum building are the exclusive domain of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India and the specialized agencies under its control, namely, NCERT, CBSE, etc. The Committee is constrained to observe that in the present case neither the Ministry of HRD nor the specialized agencies performed their assigned role. It is also intriguing to the Committee as to why National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), a body under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was so actively involved in the whole process and was given a primacy in the building up of the AEP syllabus. The Committee could not understand why the Ministry of HRD continued to acquiesce in the role played by NACO and virtually condescended to it inasmuch as NACO had interestingly taken up review of the AEP syllabus much before the Ministry of HRD had commissioned a relook. It appeared as though NACO was the original author of the AEP Programme and was in charge of its implementation, review and subsequent modification in the contents of the programme.
6.3 Another disturbing factor which came to the surface, in the exercise undertaken by the Committee, has been the total lack of coordination amongst various agencies in formulating and implementing the programme. Yet another disturbing aspect has been lack of adequate consultations with State Governments and other stakeholders in formulating and implementing the programme in the light of the fact that ours is a federal polity and that the State Governments had expressed divergent viewpoints on the subject. ‘Education’ being in the ‘Concurrent List’, it was desirable that views of all State Governments ought to have been ascertained and a consensual approach taken before implementation of the scheme in the States and the Union Territories. In the initial stage of examination of the subject, the seriousness of the matter was not fully realized. It was only after the petitioners and others brought to the notice of the Committee the objectionable texts, sketches and diagrams in the literature of AEP, than it was realized that the issue needed to be inquired thoroughly. The parents were kept in the dark about the contents of the syllabus; the subject was never put in the public domain, no attempts made to forge a national consensus on such an important subject affecting the lives of our school children. The Committee would like to recall that in its first meeting which was convened to hear the petitioners and others, hard copies of the powerpoint presentation were made available to it. Having gone through them, the Committee decided not to have the powerpoint presentation as it would have been very embarrassing to Members, officials and witnesses present in the Committee Room, to view them. It was really an unpleasant task for the Committee to go through the material of an indecent nature in the four volumes of AEP and the YUVA volumes brought out by the Government of NCT of Delhi. If such could be the reaction of a Parliamentary Committee, one could well imagine the negative effect it would have on our school children. Nevertheless, the Committee draws satisfaction over the fact that due to the initiatives taken by it, the vigilance displayed by the civil society activist, spiritual leaders, and other stakeholders and some of the State Governments, that it was able to bear enough pressure on the Government to put the AEP on hold till a new version of the programme was formulated and national consensus arrived at before actual implementation thereof. The Committee also draws solace from the fact that a misconceived AEP was thoroughly revised by a committee under the Chairmanship of Chairman, CBSE which did not contain any of the objectionable matter found in the earlier syllabus.
6.4.0 The Committee having deliberated at great length on the pros and cons of the petition makes the following recommendations:-
6.4.1 There should be no sex education in schools.
6.4.2 Message should appropriately be given to school children that there should be no sex before marriage which is immoral, unethical and unhealthy. Student should be made aware of marriageable age which is 21 years in case of boys and 18 years in case of girls and that indulging in sex outside the institution of marriage was against the social ethos of our country. Students should also be made aware that child marriage is illegal and is injurious to the health of girl child. They should also be educated that consensual sex below 16 years of age amounts to rape.
6.4.3 Appropriate, age specific curriculum should be drawn up for Scientific Health Education, Moral Education, Personality Development and Character Building, Environmental Awareness and Social Awareness. Health Education may include education on hygiene and physiological changes which takes place in the adolescents especially amongst the girls.
6.4.4 The curriculum may commence from 8th Standard onwards to be implemented in all the schools of the country – Government, Public and Private. Education about HIV/AIDS and need to control this deadly disease including Sexually Transmitted Disease may be imparted in the higher classes. Appropriate chapters thereon may be considered for inclusion in the syllabus of ‘Biology’, not before 10+2 stage.
6.4.5 Awareness of our rich cultural heritage needs to be spread amongst school children by using latest technology like audio animatronics shows, hi-tech museums, cultural tableaux, theme parks etc., so that the target group takes keen interest in the subject. Student should also be taught the values of our family system and the need to preserve it.
6.4.6 The new curriculum should include appropriate material on the lives and teachings of our great saints, spiritual leaders, freedom fighters and national heroes so as to re-inculcate in children our national ideals and values which would also neutralize the impact of cultural invasion from various sources.
6.4.7 In this context the Committee would like to stress upon the fact that our school syllabi must cater to the needs and requirement of our society and culture. Our country’s social and culture ethos are such that sex education has absolutely no place in it. Basic human instincts like food, fear, greed, coitus etc. need not be taught, rather control of these instincts should be the subject of education. But present academic system incites stimulation of instincts which is detrimental to the society. To focus Indian education on ‘instinct control’ should the important objective and for that the dignity of restraint has to be well entrenched in education.
6.4.8 The Committee is happy to note that the revised curriculum drawn up by the Review Committee under the Chairmanship of Chairman, CBSE has tried to take care of the various contentious issues to a large extent and as such is more acceptable than the previous curriculum. In comparison to the old curriculum, the revised curriculum is apparently more customized with an Indian outlook. In the new curriculum various new aspects of human relations and personality development have been explained properly which are necessary for children in the present times. In this context the Committee would like to make the following suggestions.
- Chapters like ‘Physical and Mental Development in Adolescents’ and ‘HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases’ and other Chapters related to these topics may be removed from the present curriculum and included in the books of Biology not before the 10+2 stage. This would be more effective, appropriate and acceptable.
- The remaining Chapters be made more extensive and introduced under a new name ‘Character Building and Personality Development Programme’.
- “Naturopathy”, “Ayurveda” “Unani” and “Yoga” be made integral part of the new syllabus.
- The ultimate aim of the new syllabus should focus on the total development of the child.
6.5 Today there a need to reintroduce the subject of moral values in our school curricula since society seems to have lost much of its faith in the ethical value of humanity. These values have always been emphasized in the Indian scriptures and epics. What has been viewed for so long as a family responsibility, value education should become an important part of the curriculum of any educating body. The responsibility of strengthening the values of a society lies not only in the individual hands; educators must assume the role of mentors in this time of need and bring about change to usher in a better world – a world of unselfish concern for those around us.
6.6 It is to be remembered that in the past, elders themselves taught values to their wards. Parents led by example. Grandparents enlightened young receptive minds with stories, fables and parables. Today, many Indian parents have hardly any ‘Quality Time’ for their children because of their preoccupations. Often grandparents are in homes for the aged. Young people pursue glamour and materialistic attainment. Swami Vivekanand is relevant even in these modern days when he says,
“….Today, when material ideas are at the height of their glory and power, today when man is likely to forget his divine nature, through his (growing) dependence on matter, and is likely to be reduced to a mere money-making machine, an adjustment is necessary….”
This adjustment can unarguably be brought about by value education. It is now important to stress the need for value education as an important activity of educators of all streams of studies in schools and colleges.
6.7 Educators in India need to awaken to the most precious task of teachers, that is, rekindling in the minds and hearts of its students an increased awareness about the strengths of their values. Curriculum designers must become sensitive to this dimension of education because it is an area that has attracted little or no attention until recently, since it was assumed that all students uphold moral values and belief systems. The truth is that, on the whole, they are, but these values are slowly becoming obscured in the growing materialism of the young workforce.
6.8 Teachers in India must be entrusted with the task of helping to mould the character of students. This responsibility involves many painstaking exercises for the teacher. Teachers who help students must learn to listen to the specific comments they make. This assistance will help to determine the type of value system that guides their behaviour. Students who are listless and apathetic should become more purposeful and self-directed after being trained in value education.
6.9 Every teacher should aspire to strengthen students’ minds, fortify their hearts, vitalize their thoughts, and help them crystallize their principles. Teachers must help students clarify their values so that they can make wise choices when faced with confusing options. Schools and Colleges must become the training ground for students to become better-adjusted, tolerant, and neighbourly citizens. This should also be backed up by professional guidance and counselling sessions.
6.10 In conclusion, the Committee would like to recommend to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development to consider the observations and recommendations made by it in this Chapter while finalizing the new syllabus on the basis of the revised curriculum submitted by the National Review Committee. After taking into consideration this Committee’s observations and recommendations, the feedback received from the State Governments and UT Administrations, the feedback received from parents, teachers and other experts and the general public, the Ministry should finalise proposals on the new syllabus, which would act as a model for the entire country, and obtain approval of the competent authorities. Thereafter this matter may be placed before the Chief Ministers’ Conference so that a general consensus is arrived at before implementing it in all the schools of the country.
6.11 Pending finalization of the new syllabus, the Committee calls upon the Ministry of HRD (Department of School Education and Literacy) to issue advisories to Chief Secretaries/Education Secretaries of all States/UT Administrations to withdraw the existing AEP literature from all schools, State run or CBSE affiliated, if those are still in circulation. The Committee would like the Ministry of HRD, being the nodal Ministry, to clarify to all concerned that pending finalization of a national policy on the new curriculum, no other set of instructions should be allowed to be introduced in the Schools, in any form or manner. Learning from past experience, the nodal Ministry must ensure that the entire process is completed under its superintendence, direction and control.
6.12 The Committee calls upon the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of School Education and Literacy to apprise it of the action taken on its recommendations at the earliest.