Tuesday 02nd May, 2016

FWRM Calls For Comprehensive Sexuality Education to Remain in Schools

“Girls need fundamental knowledge about their bodies – denying them that doesn’t stop sex or violence,” said Fiji Women’s Rights Movement Executive Director Tara Chetty

FWRM’s comments follow reports in today’s print media calling for the removal of Comprehensive Sexuality Education from the primary school curriculum.

“Stopping children from getting basic information only makes them more vulnerable to unwanted sexual contact and early or unwanted pregnancy, and puts them at greater risk of poor physical and mental health.”

Globally, evidence shows the importance of inclusive rights-based sex education for children, particularly girls. The current Family Life curriculum needs to be non-discriminatory, non-judgmental and gender-sensitized. The Family Life programme, including sex education, must also be delivered in a non-judgmental and gender sensitive manner to help empower girls and boys with this vital information for their well being.

“Should the Ministry for Education be contemplating changes to the Family Life curriculum, we would welcome an open consultative process that meaningfully includes the views of children, is human rights based, and always works for the best interests of the child.”

In 1993, Fiji ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which says that children need to have access to information and education in order to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health.
Schools are powerful social and cultural institutions and they have a major influence on girls and boys and how they see themselves and each other. The formal and informal curriculums employed in schools shape children’s understandings about gender. Gender sensitive Family Life education has an important role beyond just the right to health, but can also play a role in addressing violence and discrimination.
This is why comprehensive sexuality education is viewed as a basic right for girls and young women, says the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement.