While the Committee on Petitions has recommended that there should be no sex education in schools, states that had earlier banned the manual claiming it would have a corrupting influence on young minds have now taken a U-turn.
Out of the eight states — Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat — that had suspended the manual in 2007, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Rajasthan have begun adopting the tool.
“Kerala and Rajasthan were the first to withdraw the manual. However, they have now reviewed it and after making some minor changes, are ready to adopt it,” said a senior official from the department of AIDS control.
The department of AIDS control along with academic institutions, experts from the SCERT, mental health experts, teachers, educationists and parents have been revising the manual, taking off pictures of human figures and words like “penetrative sex” or “sexual intercourse”. “A lot of handiwork was put in to revise the whole manual, explicit pictures were removed and instead animation was were used,” said the official.
Divided into five chapters, the 200-page manual deals with a wide variety of topics such as growing up, adolescent reproduction, sexual health and mental well being. Children falling prey to peer pressure, adolescents making their way to de-addiction centres, life skills and HIV/AIDS have also been dealt with.
Some of the experts who worked on the manual had made presentations to the committee and are shocked at the committee’s remarks that sex education “promotes promiscuity”.