Talking about sex and menstruation is still a taboo in Nepal. Amidst all the confusion created by physical and psychological changes, young teenagers in Nepal aren’t encouraged to share about their internal conflicts. Republica talked to people to get their opinion on this matter.
Why do you think sex and reproductive health education is important? Is the curriculum designed by the government of Nepal on reproductive health and sex education enough to deal with the problems in the real world? If not, what are the improvements that can be made?
Esha Chowdhry High school graduate
Sex and reproductive health education is very important. Young teenagers go through various changes in their body. They need to be taught about what is going on their body before they get chance to freak out. It’s scary for a young girl or a boy to not have knowledge about their changing body. Sex and reproductive health education play important role in preventing early marriage, underage pregnancy and unsafe abortion. The curriculum developed by the government on this subject is more theoretical and in some of the schools they even skip this chapter. This subject could be made more interactive by bringing in experts and organizing discussion on this matter for awareness and also curriculum on this subject should also be designed for primary level students. It doesn’t need to have details but they should at least have general knowledge.
Lucky Shrestha Undergraduate student
Education on sex and reproductive health is important to prevent early pregnancy and unsafe abortion. Young teenagers need to have understanding of various contraceptives so that they don’t become victims of STDs. The curriculum on reproductive health and sex education should be made more practical. Students should be taken out on the field and educate other people about it, they should be given live examples of what happens if they don’t use safe measures. Students should be taken to remotes places where they can create a report of a person who didn’t get sex and reproductive health education and should be made to focus on their level of their lifestyle. Interactive videos should be used to make this subject more practical and effective.
Srijanraj Bajracharya Undergraduate student
Students should get sex and reproductive health education because it’s a natural thing; everybody in their life goes through. The curriculum is more theoretical and not concrete. You do know what happens but how and why it happens is not explained properly. When I was in school, girls used to be taken into different classrooms to be taught about menstruation and I didn’t think it was fair to them and us. Even boys should be taught about it. This topic should be taught by experts or someone who would freely teach about it without any hesitation.
Shubhashree Basnet Undergraduate student
Sex and reproductive health education is necessary in secondary schools because of the very simple fact that sex happens among young people. I believe depending on the books used and on the teacher’s discretion, the extent of sex and reproductive health education varies from school to school, but nowhere is it sufficient. So the focus will be on hygiene or pre-natal care or menstrual cycles which are all important things to teach, but it is also important that the curriculum include information on how to put on a condom, and how to prevent a condom from breaking and how STIs are transmitted and what are their symptoms and what all kinds of birth control are there and what are the different types of abortion procedures. It should also include information on where abortion or birth control or STI screening is available, and how much it costs. All this, sex education needs to be inclusive of LGBTIQ people, and it needs to encompass more than just partner-centered sexual pleasure, it needs to talk about masturbation as well. And more importantly, when teachers skip over for example the section on condoms, or skip over the section on pleasure (which was what happened in my school) then it communicates the message that they think those sections are not relevant to the life of their students, or worse, that they think those sections should not be relevant to the life of their students. In that case, students are left to negotiate the tricky territory of youth sexuality all by themselves, sometimes dealing with abuse and violence. Sex education needs to be given in a stigma-free way. It must lead to free conversation--it is the only way we can ensure safer sexual behaviors. Teachers and parents should join the conversation, acknowledge that young people are engaged in some sort of sexual behavior, and that they need to be given the information and support they need.
Bibek Binayee Educator
Sex and reproductive health education is especially given to students from grade 8 to 10 but I think it is necessary to give them education about normal physical changes from grade 5. Sex and reproductive health education is necessary to clear students’ doubts. Society thinks talking about sex is against our ethics and social norms but it is necessary to normalize the fact that sex happens. Giving education on this matter makes them aware about their sexual rights and they can speak out if they are getting exploited. The content of curriculum is enough for the students but its effectiveness is determined by how students are taught about it.
Yozana Khatiwada Educator
Sex and reproductive health education teaches student about sex, sexuality, contraceptive measure and family planning. This subject is important so that students can make right decision on their reproductive health. This prevents them from getting into unhealthy relationships, safeguarding them from STDs and unintended pregnancy. The education provided in Nepal is not effective when it comes to solving sexual and reproductive health problems in the real world. Students should be made more interactive in these classes; even parents should not hesitate to educate them on this topic. Experts should be sent to schools to teach students about it. Magazines and comics on this subject matter should be introduced to the students.
Sharmila Adhikari Lecturer
Sex is an important aspect of human life but we hesitate to talk about it. However, it is a matter of human sexuality that includes physical and psychological changes, emotional behaviors and relations, sexual reproduction and sexual activities. Sex education provides an open platform for everyone to know characteristics of puberty, the changes that appear in certain age and the measures to themselves from sexual exploitation. For me, sex education should be taught in family, in formal school and other community centers where people could get right knowledge on their body on right time. It is important to talk about sex openly and give sex and reproductive health education.
Subeksha Ghimire IB graduate
Raise your hand if you first learnt about condoms, orgasms and sex through porn and/or vague posters in public spaces. Of course, we took a test about male and female reproductive system in the eighth grade. But was that enough? No.
The only viable option given to Nepali youth to receive essential sex education is going to the internet and searching ‘How to tell if I am pregnant? Can I be pregnant without having sex?’ One comes across explicit content that either gross them out or make them unnaturally curious. On a personal level, I would be much more confident about my body and my sex life had I been provided sex education in the secondary school. Because by then I would have had enough maturity to understand the content being delivered and curiosity to discuss sex objectively. The government should confront the taboos towards sex in our society, and these things should be taught more seriously.
Bal Krishna Khadka Humanitarian worker
Sex education is important for people of all age; it should be particularly given from the school level to make sure that the changes they are getting in their body are taken normally. It is said that the physical changes in the body starts from around 8 years in context of girls and 11 years for boys. They should be provided with the right information on time which would ensure that they do not get it from unreliable sources. One of the problems in the context of Nepali society is that children are unable to share the feeling and erase their curiosities due to hesitancy. Thus, sex education in early adolescence should be encouraged, so that they could overcome physical and psychological anxiety that comes along with puberty. I believe it would also be of utmost support to mitigate the sex related crimes and health issues in Nepal.