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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:25 pm 
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Davao Region not to pilot sex education ... -education

Thursday, June 17, 2010

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By Jade C. Zaldivar

NO PUBLIC elementary and high schools in the region will be piloting the integration of sex education into regular curriculum, an education official said.

Department of Education (DepEd) Regional Director Susana Teresa Estigoy said none of the region's towns, cities, and municipalities were chosen to pilot the use of sex education modules, which will be tested this school year in some 79 public secondary schools and 80 elementary schools across the country.

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"We don't really know why these areas were chosen. As to what I know the other areas where there will be schools who will pilot these modules are in the Armm (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao) and CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region)," Estigoy said in a mobile phone interview.

Estigoy said the identified pilot areas are the same ones identified in 2007 that DepEd central office chose to pilot the integration of reproductive health education but was not able to push through due to the strong opposition by the religious sector and its allies.

Estigoy theorized that the criteria for choosing may have involved the areas' socio-economic situation.

"It could be perhaps of the presence of poverty or literacy there. In CAR there are a lot of indigenous people and in Armm mostly there are Muslims," Estigoy said.

Estigoy also echoed DepEd Secretary Mona Valisno in saying classroom discussions on sex education is not about the sex act but on the science of reproduction, physical care and hygiene, correct values and the norms of interpersonal relations to avoid pre-marital sex and teen age pregnancy.

Valisno said the contents of the modules that will be integrated in core subjects are scientific, informative and are not designed to titillate prurient interest.

"For example in Science, the reproductive system and reproductive cycle have always been part of the curriculum including the changes that happen during puberty," she said.

"Our role here is to educate our young people on issues that directly affect them and empower them to make informed choices and decisions," Estigoy said.

DepEd and Church to meet

Estigoy also revealed that the education department is preparing to invite leaders of the religious sector who have opposed teaching reproductive health to the children and youth.

"The heads of DepEd will sit down with the Church leaders and explain to them what is in modules, why we need to teach sex education and also to listen to them," Estigoy said.

Estigoy also expressed how the Church have been opposing the education department's decision without "understanding everything."

"They have been opposing teaching sex education but the truth is they have not seen the modules. So I think it should be very important we show them what's inside the modules before they could really say they are against it," Estigoy said.

On Wednesday, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) denied reports that they have agreed to sit down with the DepEd Central Office regarding the integration of sex education in the basic curriculum.

It was earlier announced by DepEd Assistant Secretary Teresita Inciong that there would be a meeting scheduled Thursday, between the CBCP delegation and DepEd officials to discuss issue on sex education.

CBCP President Bishop Nereo Odchimar said that the matter concerning the meeting is still with the CBCP Legal Office for further studying on the Church's position.

While CBCP Secretary General Monsignor Juanito Figura said Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias told him that they have not decided on whether to meet with DepEd officials or not.

Integration into subjects

Valisno earlier said sex education will be integrated in Science; Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan (EPP); Health; Heograpiya, Kasaysayan, at Sibika; and Mathematics.

"Under Science, topics on the reproductive system, parts of the body, reproductive cycle, and puberty are discussed. EPP on the other hand will integrate proper behavior among and between peers of different genders. Health component of Mapeh (Music, Arts, PE and Health) covers personal hygiene and reproductive heath," Valisno said.

Valisno added that sex education will be taught in social studies topics under Heograpiya, Kasaysayan, at Sibika such as the position of religion on pre-marital sex and the norms when people of opposite sex interact. In Mathematics, students will use data on issues like pre-marital sex, teen age pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections in their mathematical analysis and exercises in statistics.

"Among those who prepared the modules are psychologists because we want to ensure that specific topics for discussions will be made in the appropriate year levels," Valisno said.

Topics requiring a more mature audience are discussed in the latter years in high school.

Two batches of teachers who will be using the modules have already been trained. A third batch is being prepared for training this year.

Aquino's choice

Valisno did not discount that the decision lies on the administration of President-elect Senator Benigno Aquino III whether sex education will indeed be implemented.

"We are still open for consultations," Valisno said.

"The next administration will be the one to decide whether to implement this fully, revise the modules, apply on selected schools, or totally scrap it," she added.

Before the height of the campaign, where attacks on Aquino became more personal, Aquino was being rapped for his stand supporting reproductive health.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 18, 2010.

Someday in the distant future, scientists will score a breakthrough and replicate the amazingly powerful adhesive with which Gloria Arroyo has managed to cling to power.


Davao Region not to pilot sex education



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