Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan clarified Friday that his criticism of the school sex education programme on his personal website was made in the context of the UPA government’s 2007 decision to introduce the Adolescence Education Programme (AEP) in its original form. Even chief ministers of UPA rules states, he claimed, had objected to it and the content was subsequently modified.
The minister is under attack following reports in a section of the media claiming he had proposed a ban on sex education in schools.
“Crudity and graphic representation of culturally objectionable symbols as manifested in the UPA’s so-called sex education programme cannot be called sex education. Every education system must strive to have an ideal curriculum and to that extent my stand is valid,” he said in a statement issued from the United States where he is currently on an official tour.
“Sex education,” he said, “builds societies free of gender discrimination, teenage pregnancy, HIV-AIDS proliferation, pornography addiction.”
“I am a medical professional who has embraced rationalism and I whole-heartedly support pedagogy that is scientific and culturally acceptable. Anything abrasive to common sensibilities and articulated as such by responsible persons should be discarded and replaced by consensually accepted learning processes,” he added.
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As chief ministerial candidate of his party in the 2013 election, the minister said he had full right to make transparent his agenda for education, among other subjects of governance.
Value-based school learning processes are common in all countries and he had wanted such a format to be implemented in Delhi schools, he added.
He added the curriculum that he had introduced in city schools during his tenure as the health and education minister from 1993-98 also had a component of sex education.