Lack of funding and government apathy may result in drawing the curtains for a unique experiment, which had resulted in the scientific training of more than thousand men as peer educators in the field of sexuality education. Although the state government had formed a special committee to prepare a tentative curriculum for the subject, nothing concrete has come out of it yet.
The issue of sexuality education as opposed to sex education, as a subject has been popularised by ‘Men against violence and abuse’ (MAVA), for the past 20 years. Harish Sadani, secretary of the organisation, said unfortunately the subject had not been taken seriously at any level. “Sexuality education is important as it helps to resolve several issues that trouble adolescents. If suppressed or not addressed properly, pent up sexuality can lead to sex crime,” he said.
Accused in the December 26 Delhi gangrape and Shakti Mill gangrape were juvenile bodies, which Sadani pointed out as indicators to the problem plaguing the nation.
Although in the past 20 years Sadani’s organisation has managed to train around 60,000 male facilitators in Pune, Buldhana, Ahmednagar and others, he said the efforts were too little given the enormity of the problem. The organisation which runs a helpline centre in Mumbai has seen a deluge of calls from areas like Latur and Jalna.
Reports show that there has been a significant jump of around 50 per cent in sexual experimentation among youth. “With experimentation comes questions, which the present system has no mechanism to answer. Till date, more than 98 per cent of the youth look up porn sites to get answers to their queries related to sexuality,” Sadani said.
In order to address the issue, the state government had formed a committee headed by Professor Ram Rishi to prepare the study material. Sexologist Dr Vitthal Prabhu, who was a part of the committee, said the mandate before the committee was to prepare the ways to teach psycho-bio-social aspects of sexuality education. “Although our committee submitted its report three years ago, the government chose to sit on the matter. Inquiries with the department have failed to evoke any response. Around two weeks back, we had sent a reminder, but to no avail,” Prabhu said.
Minister of State for Education Fauzia Khan said, “I don’t know the recent status of the report. But, I will definitely follow it up as it is an important issue.”
Despite repeated attempts, Education Minister Rajendra Darda was not available for comments.