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Ontario’s new sex education curriculum coming in September, gets mixed reviews 

By Shazia Malik

Toronto – The much anticipated and talked about sex-education curriculum was released by Ontario’s Education Minister Liz Sandals during a press conference on Monday. Ontario’s new sex education curriculum will be introduced in Ontario schools coming September.

Ontario is releasing updated Health and Physical Education curriculum to give students accurate information that will help keep them safe and healthy. The province is also providing parents with resources to help them understand and participate in what will be taught to their children.

Starting September 2015, the updated curriculum will reflect health, safety and well-being realities faced by today’s students. Updates to the curriculum include healthy relationships, consent, mental health, online safety and the risks of “sexting.”

Ontario’s Education Minister Liz Sandals said “We are updating the curriculum to ensure the safety and health of our students. Schools and parents both play an essential and complementary role in supporting student learning — including learning about human development and sexual health. We are listening to parents. That is why we are working with education partners to develop a number of resources for parents and educators about the curriculum and about issues impacting today’s children and youth.”

Children will learn about their body parts in Grade 1 and about homosexuality and same-sex marriage in Grade 3. In Grade 6, they’ll talk about puberty — a chat that will cover masturbation. When they get to the subject of sexually transmitted diseases in Grade 7, they’ll learn just how they’re contracted, including through oral and anal sex.

 

The new sex education curriculum is getting mixed reviews with some protesting and some calling it much ado about nothing. At the heart of this debate is also the timing of the introduction of sex education as some agree that children need this education but is the timing right to teach about these issues at an early age.

Though the government officials insist that the revamped curriculum will enhance healthy relationships and that views of a reasonable sample of parents was taken into account before its introduction, a large number of parents from various groups have shown their remorse. The government has permitted parents to pull their kids from a particular class on sex education without retarding the grades of their kids.

It is interesting to note that the document has the consent of all major political parties in Ontario -Liberals, NDP and PC except few MPPs asking tough questions.

The recent discussion on Southasian PULSE radio undertook all these topics with community objecting to making children conscious about a complicated subject that is not necessary at that tender age, however others endorsed its introduction saying the curriculum should be read in its entirety before being rejected. They claimed the new curriculum is the need of the hour as puberty age is going down and with the ever-changing technology when children at an early age have access to cell phones and other gadgets, it is essential to safeguard kids.

One caller said he as a father cannot dare talk to his young son about these matter openly, how will those be discussed in the class.  Due to similar concerns several protests were held outside Queen’s Park on Tuesday. But according to the education minister the new curriculum will be introduced in all schools including Roman Catholic institutions regardless of any protests from new school year commencing in September.

Liz Sandals - Head Shot - 2014 - Hi Res

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