Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Zero sum

Aquino on sex ed: ‘Zero education might lead to wrong decisions’

MANILA, Philippines—While he withheld his position on sex education, President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III believes that "zero education” “might lead to wrong decisions."

Aquino made the statement on Tuesday amid strong opposition against the inclusion of sex education in public schools.

"I will have to talk to Bro. Armin (Luistro) to discuss with him my views on this," he told a press conference, referring to newly-appointed education secretary.

"Pero bottomline po n’yan, hindi ko maadopt ‘yong policy noong pinaka conservative elements na noong kampanya po iminumungkuhi sa atin ay huwag pag usapan, parang zero education," Aquino said.

"So zero education means ignorance and ignorance might lead to wrong decisions," he said.
President Aquino is right. Zero sex education is wrong.

I wonder who are those "pinaka conservative elements" who propose zero education on sex. Certainly it could not be the official Catholic position that he refers to, as it has been ascertained that the church is not against sex education per se. I noted here that Catholic schools have actually been teaching sex education for a long time. In a recent column, Antonio Montalvan cites a Vatican Council declaration, Gravissimum Educationis, that recommended that “young people should begin as they grow older to receive a positive and prudent education in matters relating to sex.”.

The issue is all about the moral content in sex education.

Thus, incoming DepEd chief Luistro was on the right track when he said :“The first question here is not whether I favor or not (sex education). I think what we should be talking about here is what kind of education will we be giving. There should really be dialogue,”.

What kind of sex education should we be giving?

For example, should Catholic schools keep their students ignorant about contraceptives? I hold the position that they should not, in the course of teaching sex education. The scientific aspects pertaining to contraceptives should be taught likewise, at the proper age, with respect to its scientific facts, effectiveness, medical issues, together with its established and potentially dangerous effects. Even as NFP should be taught with all its facts and potential drawbacks, students should also be intellectually informed on the factual purpose and effects of various contraceptives. For instance, students must understand why most contraceptives have been justifiably categorized as abortifacients. Along the way, Catholic schools should have the full freedom to teach that sex is meant for the unitive and procreative aspects in a solemnized marriage, and that contraceptives are intrinsically evil. Why? Simply because that is the authentic teaching of the Catholic Magisterium, whether dissenters like it or not. No other ways about it.

Should non-Catholic schools teach otherwise? In like manner, I am of the position that other educational institutions, NGOs or other private entities should have the freedom under the law to conduct courses in sex education even if it does not square with the Catholic standpoint. While we are free to advocate our respective positions, we should respect the legitimate exercise of beliefs either way, and this seems to be lost on the proponents of liberal sex education. We are in a democratic country, with reasonable guarantees of freedom of expression. Therein lies a caveat, as our Constitution guarantees the "natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character". Secular sex education courses that are at variance with one's beliefs should be offered and taken on a strictly voluntary basis. There must be an opt-out provision wherein parents can decide. No coercions, either way.

That said, I wonder what the authors of the RH-bill were thinking when they insisted on its provision of mandatory sex education advocating the use of contraceptives in ALL schools - Catholic or otherwise. It also remains a puzzle why former DepEd chief Mona Valisno implemented sex education without first revealing its modules for proper consultation, even as the move brazenly bypassed a point of legal infirmity. She was apparently of the position that she can implement portions of the RH-bill disregarding the fact that it has not yet been enacted into law. The way these people look at it, it is not about zero education alright, but it is all about a zero sum game.


petrufied said...

Why are they assuming that just because their mandatory sex ed is being opposed, that their opponents are insisting on zero education? Obviously they're not hearing out the other side.

I just found out that in the States there are therapy programs for teens who get pregnant and parenting programs for teen-dads. I think these are good measures, but I hope we don't ever find the need to set them up here for our teens. Prevention in the form of the right kind of education is important, and not a mandatory curriculum that doesn't take into consideration the child's maturity level and the parents' duty and concerns.

WillyJ said...

"Obviously they're not hearing out the other side"

Absolutely obvious.

Here is a question that anyone, pro or con, must answer:

"Do you agree that the school of your choice instill values on your children that are diametrically opposed to the values you are trying to instill as a parent?"

Pro-choice daw sila? ehem.