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Sexuality education in schools can be improved

By Eden Chua

I applaud MOE's sexuality education programme for covering a wide variety of themes such as "Human Development, Interpersonal Relationships, Sexual Health, Sexual Behaviour, Culture, Society and Law" to educate youths in Singapore.

However, can MOE's sexuality education programme be improved further on the issue of homosexuality?

According to the MOE website: "homosexuality is covered in one lesson in the lower secondary package. The lesson seeks to inform students of the definition of “homosexual”, and that homosexual acts are illegal under Singapore law." Even though homosexuality is touched on, it is scarcely enough.

While it is not wrong that sexuality education should reflect social norms of Singapore's society, we need to acknowledge the fact that homosexuals do exist among us. By just doing the "touch-and-go" on the issue of homosexuality, it will most likely confuse homosexual teens and will not provide them with the support or knowledge to face who they are.

Furthermore, with the Internet at their fingertips, these teens might then turn to other less-than-ideal sources to find answers to their questions on homosexuality.

MOE could consider going more in-depth into the topic of homosexuality and include lessons on the issue of homosexuality throughout secondary school years and JC years, instead of just one lower secondary lesson, adopting a neutral stance instead of tilting the balance to either advocating homosexuality or being against homosexuality.

While some might argue that by teaching students more about homosexuality, MOE would appear as promoting gay rights, I beg to differ. MOE would instead be going one step further in adequately informing students on the real world instead of creating an artificial environment for youths to grow up in by brushing aside the issue of homosexuality.

It is prudent that we stop trying to shield our youths from issues that are somewhat controversial in our society, in order to mould them into young adults that are able to hold their own against international counterparts, by being able to form their own opinions and unafraid to speak up and defend said opinions.

Lastly, we often complain that Singaporean students are too afraid to speak up and are instead more comfortable following others all the time. However, we need to question ourselves: Are we the cause of it?