What S.E.T. backs does India face about Sex Ed?

Koushita Gouri Reddy V -

Hey everyone!


I didn’t end up posting last week as I took it as my break week but I have a lot of new findings to share today!

On Sunday the 24th of February I had a meeting with Allison Stewart who gave me more insight into what countries to look into and what topics each would be important for. For example, Norway has a more progressive system, Australia focuses on the importance of emotional wellbeing, and (while not a country) California is a great source within the US which has topics on consent, healthy relationships, and is one of the only states in the US which has this program in place. I will be meeting with her again this week to go through some more of my findings and just clear some questions up.

On Monday the 5th of March I had a meeting with my faculty advisor, Ms. Smetanick, who gave me a few things to look into. The main topic she mentioned for me to look into is “why India hasn’t adopted CSE (I talked about this in my last post) yet?” Or more specifically “what is key things are keeping this education away from India?”

I looked into this a bit more yesterday and have a few main findings. I have found that many states in India (Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, etc) have banned or refused to implement sex education in school because it’s a taboo. But some more of the challenges include that there are unqualified teachers to teach this, myths surrounding CSE creates unnecessary anxiety, parents are concerned about the appropriate ages to have CSE, the government has never placed an importance on sex education, India lacks a strong CSE curriculum as the research on sexuality and sexual health is limited, and etc. These problems allow for a basis for my research and creation of a curricula as now I have made it a part of my goal to be hitting on most if not all of the mentioned topics. 

Additionally I have found a pre-placed program called the Adolescent Youth Programme which is a brief overview of CSE topics. This program exists, but nothing has been done about it due to the above problems. 

As Katherine Russell once said “every problem has a solution; it may sometimes just need another perspective.”   Perspectives I hope to provide and find as I look into what other countries have in their curriculums and try my best to address the dire need for sex education in India.


Adolescent Youth Programme: https://www.cbse.gov.in/cbsenew/documents//TEACHERS%20BOOK%201-50.pdf


Thank you for reading!

  • Koushita

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    Hi Koushita, great work! I am interested in hearing more about how some of the more progressive countries have overcome similar barriers that India face. For example, is training provided to sexual education teachers in other parts of the world? What age do other countries identify as the the appropriate age for sexual education? How has this been determined?
    Jen Smetanick
    It was wonderful meeting you this week. I enjoyed our conversation about researching the root cause. A new initiative is more likely to have a successful implementation with buy-ins from all stakeholders. Entities such as government agencies, schools, teachers, parents, and students are all important parts of this movement. It is great to hear that the Adolescent Youth Progamme currently exists. Is there a plan to capitalize on this work to advance your curricula objectives? Instead of a huge leap forward, it might be more feasible to encourage stakeholders to take multiple smaller and pragmatic steps on mutually agreeable plans.
    Hi Ms. Bennett! Thank you for the wonderful comment and amazing question! I looked into different countries this week and found that the more progressive ones have either leaned into sex ed being a topic parents teach, or one that is seen simply biologically. The only country I’ve noticed be more holistic was Japan, which is why it’s a crucial part of my research. Japan starts with the basic biology and then goes more into the social impacts. Additionally, I have noticed a pattern between countries, they mostly start sex ed in elementary/primary school but in a very slow way as, for example, they start with understanding your body and personal boundaries to going into the importance of consent to protection and STIs. I believe these ages were determined as it is explored ideas that the students might experience socially at around the same age.
    Hi Ms. Smetanick! I loved meeting and talking with you too! You’re very correct, initiatives, especially youth-led, tend to have a bigger impact when it comes to topics relating to the youth (of course with support from others it will work even better). I do plan on looking into AYP in terms of a basis (similar to looking into the other countries) but for now the curricula I’m planning isn’t going to directly be building off of the program in AYP. But I do agree, AYP does make my work a bit easier, especially in terms of looking into what the Indian government would approve of and finds appropriate. It will definitely be a checking point with what I end up creating.

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