Several experts have slammed Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan's statement that sex education should be banned in schools. The minister is his vision document for Delhi schools says: "So-called "sex education" to be banned. Yoga to be made compulsory." Even though, the minister later claimed that he was not opposed to sex education per se, he was against its vulgarisation. Nevertheless, his views on sex education has definitely sparked a debate and have been denounced by many.
Dr Harish Shetty, consultant psychiatrist at Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital, Powai, said, "Sex education is the need of the hour. Ministers like Dr Vardhan should not impose their belief in their work. They should unlearn their belief and ascertain it with some research. In a globalised world, sex education becomes even more important and can't be excluded from school education. "
Dr Vasant Mundra, child psychiatrist at PD Hinduja Hospital, said, "The problem is that we refer to information on organ of reproduction as sex education, whereas the truth is that these organs too are a part of health education. It is unfortunate that such statements take us back to the debate on its necessity. The minister should clarify on what his statement actually means. We should not create health problems out of ignorance. "
Dr Seema Hingoranny, child psychologist said, "We get many cases of teenagers, who pick up wrong information from the internet and get themselves into trouble. This happens because there is no one to give them proper education. Sex education is not only limited to the organs of reproduction. It is to teach a difference between a good touch and bad touch. By not providing children with sex education, we make them prone to molestation etc. Putting a total ban on sex education will be detrimental to mental health of children."
Dr Parul Tank, head of psychiatry department at Rajawadi Hospital and consultant psychiatrist at Fortis Hospital, Mulund, said, "Research shows that sex education only spread awareness and doesn't increase promiscuity or incidence of sex in adolescent age group. It is better to give them sex education through right channel than them finding things from internet etc. "
Interestingly, senior BJP leader Vinod Tawde disagreed with his minister's views. He said sex education is a must for schools. "It may be renamed as adolescence health education and taught in schools in one period a fortnight." City BJP president Ashish Shelar, too said sex education was needed but the form in which it is to be done is a point of debate.
Recently, Dr Vardhan had sparked a controversy by saying that promoting condom usage is not enough to prevent AIDS. However, Dr Vardhan on Wednesday denied opposing promotion of condoms, and said a combination of condoms and abstinence was needed to fight HIV/AIDS.