The main aim of the project entitled “Life skill module”, proposed for the schools in Karnataka, was to introduce children between the ages of six and twelve years to sex education, in efforts to contain the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus. The programme put forward by the Union Government in cooperation with the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) and the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), has been blocked by he Prime Minister of the Indian state.
Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Basavaraj S. Horatti says that the Karnataka government does not want the programme introduced, although it may help prevent AIDS spreading because it may traumatize children of such a tender age. “In today's world, - he said - we need moral education and not sex education”.
Prior to the Minister’s rejection ,the All-India Mahila Samskrutika Sanghatane (AIMSS) and the All-India Democratic Students Organisation (AIDSO) had called for a debate involving parents, teachers, educationists and psychologists on the issue before "experimenting" with young minds in this manner. The Aparna B.R., secretary of the State unit of the AIMSS told press in Bangalore that owing to the influence of UNICEF and condom and contraceptive-manufacturing companies, the Union Government had taken a decision to introduce sex education in higher primary and high schools. It believed that the programme would help children learn about the human body and create awareness about AIDS.
Speaking to AsiaNews, the spokesperson for the Indian Bishops conference’s commission for pastoral health care, Msgr Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore said “I think that sex education should be reserved for secondary schools and university; children who are so young could be unprepared for such a topic. It should be the family who teach children respect for life and the human body, starting from when they are young gradually and according to the needs of their age”.
“Unfortunately mass media and magazines are sending out the wrong messages to our young people which have absolutely nothing to do with a positive approach to this type of education. In Catholic schools we have sexual, moral and ethical education programmes for our secondary students. Teaching values must be an integral part of our whole education system, it is of the greatest importance in forming the personality and character of the students and the Catholic schools help the younger generations to do so by teaching them moral and ethical values”.