FPATT backs call for sex education in schools

Friday, December 7, 2018 - 14:00

The Fam­i­ly Plan­ning As­so­ci­a­tion of T&T (FPATT) says it ful­ly sup­ports the call by Sport and Youth Af­fairs Min­is­ter Sham­fa Cud­joe for sex ed­u­ca­tion in schools and for chil­dren to be ex­posed to it at a much younger age.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, FPATT said: “We be­lieve that the school set­ting pro­vides an ide­al en­vi­ron­ment to ed­u­cate young peo­ple about sex be­fore they be­come sex­u­al­ly ac­tive. It is a much bet­ter ap­proach than to leave our young peo­ple to learn neg­a­tive at­ti­tudes about sex and sex­u­al­i­ty in the street, or the un­reg­u­lat­ed me­dia.”

The FPATT said it is im­por­tant to ex­pose younger chil­dren to sex ed­u­ca­tion be­cause a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of them have their first sex­u­al ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore age 13 and “con­tin­ue to en­gage in un­pro­tect­ed sex­u­al ac­tiv­i­ty with mul­ti­ple sex­u­al part­ners, in­creas­ing their risk for a myr­i­ad of un­favourable out­comes.

“In­deed, the Caribbean re­mains a re­gion with some of the high­est rates of teenage preg­nan­cies in the world. These facts demon­strate that open, hon­est con­ver­sa­tions about sex­u­al mat­ters with trust­ed adults are se­vere­ly lack­ing at a time when it is most need­ed.”

It added, how­ev­er, that the school should not dis­place par­ents and their re­spon­si­bil­i­ty, but in­stead should sup­port par­ents who might feel ill-equipped to broach sub­jects of sex and sex­u­al­i­ty.

The state­ment con­tin­ued: “We owe it to our chil­dren and our young peo­ple to bet­ter po­si­tion them for an all-around suc­cess­ful life. Sen­si­tiz­ing par­ents, teach­ers, faith-based or­ga­ni­za­tions, lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and oth­er key gate­keep­ers and stake­hold­ers and giv­ing per­mis­sion to dis­cuss it with young peo­ple, are es­sen­tial steps to­wards im­ple­ment­ing age-ap­pro­pri­ate CSE (com­pre­hen­sive sex ed­u­ca­tion) in schools.

“We, as the de­ci­sion-mak­ers and the adults that younger ones look up to, have a re­spon­si­bil­i­ty to pro­tect them from harm and to ed­u­cate them in their best in­ter­ests.”