PETALING JAYA: Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim has called on the Education Ministry to play a bigger role in educating teenagers on sex.
“This is an important subject matter for teenagers and their parents. As role models, parents and guardians have an important part to play in guiding and supporting their children.”
Noor Azimah was commenting on an Oct 30 statement by Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek that a total of 913 teenagers, aged 13 to 17, tested positive for sexually transmitted diseases (STD).
She said the statement was worrying as children as young as 13 are already sexually active.
“These youngsters are engaging in sexual activities without understanding the consequences.
“It is even more worrying that many of them could be unknowingly subjected to sexual violence and sexual grooming.”
Noor Azimah said a major problem stems from schools providing insufficient resources and effective sex education teaching methods to teachers.
“Teachers have difficulty imparting the right knowledge to students as they lack the knowledge and skills to do so.
“Many of them are also uncomfortable at teaching sex education as it is still viewed as a sensitive topic.”
Noor Azimah said the Education Ministry should review the Reproductive Health and Social Education modules to provide a complete and comprehensive sex education to students.
“Much of the contents of the module is about abstinence and the body’s reproductive function.
“It discourages sex by instilling fear of unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
“Sex education should not only cover basic topics such as the reproductive system, puberty and STD but also deeper issues such as relationships and gender roles.”
The Education Ministry can also work with NGOs in providing sex education and sexual health information to teenagers, she said.
“By addressing topics such as sexual health, relationships, consent and contraception, these NGOs often fill the gap left by schools.
“Schools can also invite NGOs to conduct programmes and workshops in schools.”
Noor Azimah said another major challenge is that parents still see the topic of sex education as a taboo.
“Parents play a big role in educating their children.
“However, they find it challenging to talk about such complex subjects and shy away from it.
“The only information that most parents are willing to talk about is limited to experiencing puberty.”
She advised parents to be open to having a dialogue with their children when they start asking questions about sex.
“Parents shouldn’t shy away when their children start asking questions about sex as they play a significant role in shaping their children’s mindset.
“Parents should be informed and engaged in their children’s sex education so that they may be less doubtful and more supportive of the subject.
“This would help their children to make better choices and decisions regarding their sexual activities.”
Noor Azimah said the ministry can also focus on utilising media as a medium for providing sex education.
“In this digital day and age where social media is the main source of information for teenagers, it would be good to have short videos, such as TikTok-style public service announcements on comprehensive sex education.”
The Education Ministry did not reply to questions posed by theSun.