Hello, dear readers! My name is Fatemeh Samman, and I’m here to share a personal journey and reflection on a topic which holds immense significance in today’s world: sexual education in schools. As a 28-year-old business administration student currently residing in Toronto, Canada, I come from a place quite different from the cultural landscape I now find myself in.
In this blog, I want to take you on a voyage through my own experiences, from the cultural restrictions surrounding sexual education in my homeland to the shock of encountering a more open discourse here in Canada.
I will also delve into the impact of a popular series titled “Sex Education,” which provided me with valuable insights and sparked profound reflections on this important topic.
Sexual Education in Schools in Egypt and Western Countries
The stark contrast between sexual education public schools in Egypt and Western countries like Canada is not limited to societal attitudes but extends to the very structure and content of comprehensive sex education programs.
Egypt: Tradition and restraint
Growing up in Egypt, I was well aware of the cultural restrictions surrounding sexuality education. It was a topic rarely discussed openly, and when it was, it was done so with hushed tones and veiled references.
The prevailing attitude was that discussions about safe sex and comprehensive sex studies were best left within the confines of the family, if they were even addressed at all. This perspective has deep roots in the conservative traditions of Egypt, where modesty and discretion have long been upheld as virtues.
In Egypt, sex education has traditionally been a topic laden with taboos and limitations.
Schools rarely broach the subject, and when they do, it tends to be limited to the biological aspects of human bodies and reproductive system but not aboout safe sex practices. That is why sex ed should be taught in Egypt schools.
One of the cultural factors which contribute to these restrictions is the conservative nature of Egyptian society. Modesty and the preservation of traditional values have been paramount, leading to a reluctance to openly discuss topics related to safe sex.
Western countries: Comprehensive and open
On the contrary, in Western countries like Canada, sexual education is an integral part of the school curriculum. It aims to provide students with a comprehensive acknowledgement and shows how to understand the human sexuality, going beyond just the biological aspects of bodies. Topics such as consent, sexual orientation, safe sex practices, and health in relationships are openly discussed. That is why sexual education should be taught in schools worldwide, because they encourage sexual knowledge in children.
I was brought face to face with a vastly different approach to sex education. Here, discussions about sex were not shrouded in secrecy but embraced with openness and candor. It was a stark contrast to what I had grown up with, and it made me question what was acceptable and what wasn’t in frank conversations about sexuality education.
The approach in Western countries is driven by the belief that knowledge is power. Educating young people about these topics allows them to make proper and adult decisions about their sexual health and relationships, ultimately contributing to safe and more fulfilling lives.
Why Should Sexual Education Be Taught in Schools?
As I continue to navigate this cultural transition, I find myself reflecting on the importance of a balanced approach to sex education. While respecting cultural values and traditions is essential, providing young people with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health is equally vital. Should sex education be taught in schools everywhere? Yes. My hope is that discussions surrounding sex education can evolve in Egypt, drawing from the positive aspects of Western approaches, to create a healthier and more informed society.
The series “Sex Education”: A catalyst for reflection
Upon arriving in Canada, I was introduced to a popular series titled “Sex Education.” This show, set in a fictional British high school, delves into the lives of teenagers navigating the complexities of relationships, sexuality, and identity. It was a revelatory experience for me, and I found myself drawn into the lives of the characters as they grappled with the very issues I had only ever seen whispered about back home.
The impactful episodes: Aimee’s trauma and Eric’s journey
One of the episodes that left a profound impression on me was Aimee’s traumatic experience of being sexually assaulted on a bus. This sensitive portrayal of a harrowing incident underscored the importance of consent and the devastating effects of sexual violence. Aimee’s further abstinence from activity was promoted as a choice for individuals who wish to avoid the risks associated with sexual involvement due to trauma. It made me realize just how essential it is for young people to be educated about such topics, as it can help prevent such incidents and provide support for survivors. After this series I completely realized that sex ed should be taught in schools.
Another character who touched my heart was Eric, who openly embraced his homosexuality in a society that wasn’t always accepting. Eric’s journey towards self-acceptance and the support he received from his friends exemplified the significance of inclusivity and acceptance in sex education. And in the final 4th season at Cavendish College, Erica fully accepts his orientation which I liked the most!
What Are the Main Pro and Cons of Sex Education?
Seeing the way these issues were handled in the series reinforced my belief in the importance of sex education. It’s not just about only teaching sexuality education and the mechanics of sex; it’s about equipping young people with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed decisions, foster healthy relationships, and create a more inclusive and accepting society. Why sex education should be taught in schools? Let’s see!
Pros of sex education in schools
- Reduced STIs. Education on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can lead to a decline in infection rates among young people. Sexually transmitted infections pose a significant threat to youth’s health and reproductive process. So learning sexually transmitted infections is crucial.
- Improved decision-making. Comprehensive sex education empowers students to make responsible and informed decisions about their sexual health.
- Gender and sex orientation awareness. It promotes understanding and acceptance of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, fostering inclusivity. Comprehensive sexual education programs encompass not only the biological aspects of reproductive system but also the emotional and psychological development sex, promoting a holistic understand of human sexuality.
Cons of sex education for students in schools
- Controversy. Some parents and communities may have strong objections to the content of sex education programs, leading to sex education in schools debate and disputes.
- Age-Appropriateness. Finding the right age to introduce sex education topics can be challenging, as younger children may not be emotionally prepared for certain discussions.
The importance of sexual education for young students
So why is sex education at schools is so important? Let me show you!
- Sexual orientations: Breaking stereotypes
Sexuality education in schools plays a pivotal role in shaping the attitudes and behaviors of young individuals. It provides them with the knowledge and type of skills they need to navigate the complex terrain of human sexuality. One key aspect is understanding sexual orientations. In Egypt, traditional beliefs often perpetuated stereotypes and misconceptions about LGBTQ+ individuals. However, through the series “Sex Education,” I saw how educating young people about diversity of sexual orientation could break down these stereotypes and promote acceptance. That is why is sexual education important.
- Safe sex practices: Preventing STIs and unplanned pregnancies
Another critical component of my thought why sexual education should be mandatory in schools is teaching safe sex practices. In Egypt, discussions about contraception and STIs are often limited, leaving many young people at risk. Comprehensive sex education, as depicted in the series, emphasizes the importance of safe sex practices. This knowledge is essential to prevent STIs, unplanned pregnancies and regulate youths’ sexual activity.
- Comprehensive sex education: Beyond the physical
Comprehensive sex education goes beyond the biological aspects of sex. It addresses emotional and relational components, such as consent, communication, and building healthy relationships. In Egypt, these aspects are rarely discussed openly. However, seeing the positive impact of comprehensive sex education in the series reinforced my belief that it’s essential for young people to receive a holistic education about sexuality.
Approaching sexuality education in schools of different countries and cultures
Navigating the diverse cultural landscapes when it comes to sex education requires a delicate and nuanced approach. It’s essential to respect cultural norms and values while simultaneously advocating for open and inclusive discussions about sexuality. Here’s how we can approach sex education in various cultures to raise awareness and reveal how to understand sex:
1. Cultural sensitivity and respect
Respect for the cultural norms and values of a particular society is paramount when introducing how sex education can help. Recognize that what is acceptable in one culture may be considered taboo in another. Approach the subject with sensitivity, and be prepared to adapt the curriculum to align with local customs. Also, understanding the stages of development sex and sexually transmitted infections is essential for educators to tailor age-appropriate sex education curricula
2. Collaborate with local experts
In some cultures, discussions about specific sex practices remain a sensitive and private matter, making it challenging to introduce comprehensive sex education. Engage local experts, educators, and community leaders who have an intimate understanding of the culture. Medical professionals play a vital role in providing guidance on specific sex related concerns and health issues. They can provide invaluable insights into the best ways to introduce sex education while respecting cultural sensitivities.
3. Tailored curriculum
Develop a sex education curriculum with sex teachers in schools that can be tailored to the specific needs and sensitivities of each culture. Highlight the shared goals of promoting sexual health, informed decision-making, and healthy relationships while respecting cultural boundaries.
4. Encourage parental involvement
In many cultures, parents play a significant role in their children’s education. Encourage parental involvement in sex education programs, ensuring that they are informed about the curriculum and comfortable with its content. This collaboration can help bridge the gap between school-based education and cultural values and reduce sexual violence in countries where it is prevalent.
5. Promote inclusivity
Emphasize the importance of inclusivity in sex education. Acknowledge diversity of sexual orientation, gender identities, and cultural backgrounds. Sex education programs should cover specific sex topics, including consent and contraception. Encourage open discussions where students can ask questions and share their experiences without fear of judgment.
6. Start early
In cultures where discussions about sex are traditionally taboo, consider introducing sex education at an earlier age to avoid such issues as sexual violence. You need toexplain public why sex education is important. This gradual approach can help destigmatize the topic and make it more acceptable over time.
7. Engage in community dialogue
Initiate community dialogues and discussions about the sex education meaning and development. Involve religious leaders, community organizations, and parents in these conversations. Highlight the potential benefits of comprehensive sex education can help in promoting sexual health and reducing risky behaviors.
8. Leveraging media and technology
In today’s interconnected world, leverage media and technology to disseminate information about sex education. Use culturally sensitive digital resources, websites, and apps to provide accessible information to students and their families. Using these resources sex education can help students in any culture.
Here’s the importance of sex education tailored to each culture. By approaching sexual education in various cultures with sensitivity, respect, and adaptability, we can work towards raising awareness, fostering understanding, and regulating sexual activity.
The goal is to empower individuals worldwide to lead healthy, informed, and fulfilling lives while respecting their cultural values and traditions.
To Sum Up!
My journey from Egypt to Canada and my experience watching “Sex Education” have profoundly shaped my views on sex education. I believe that a more open and comprehensive approach to sex education, similar to what I’ve witnessed in Canada and in the series, helps young people worldwide. It can empower them to make informed decisions, foster inclusive and accepting societies, and break down the barriers of cultural restrictions. So, why is sex education important in schools? Now, you can see this in my and Western culture examples.