Schools to teach teen pregnancy prevention from September

A man stands outside the city’s first baby hatch in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, December 11, 2013. — Reuters pic
A man stands outside the city’s first baby hatch in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, December 11, 2013. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — Students at selected schools nationwide will begin learning about sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), statutory rape and the perils of premarital sex from this year onward as part of a national campaign to reduce teen pregnancies.

The National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN) told the New Straits Times (NST) that the alarming number of underage pregnancies — 1,048 teen cases between January and March last year — had served as a “wake-up call”, prompting the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to address the issue.

LPPKN Human Reproductive Division’s Sexuality Unit director Dr Hamizah Mohd Hassan said “Modul Pekerti” will be taught to a selected batch of Form Three and Year Six students from September.

“This will be finalised with the Education Ministry,” she was quoted as saying in the English daily.

Dr Hamizah added that due to budgetary constraints, the module will only be taught to three selected schools from each state — one primary, one secondary and one special needs school.

In total, an estimated 8,000 students from 47 schools will benefit from the module, she added.

The Year Six students will learn basic information on puberty and their body parts under the Reproductive Health of Adolescents Module (RHAM).

“This module will stress on the importance of respecting their bodies as this can prevent them form engaging in activities that can damage their bodies such as having sex at a very young age.

“Boys will have to participate in the activities as well, because we want to educate them on the importance of respecting women and avoid engaging in premarital sex,” she was quoted as saying.

For the Form Three students, Dr Hamizah said “Modul Cakna Diri” would teach the 15-year-olds more comprehensive information about their rights and responsibilities, statutory rape, the effects of premarital sex and information on STDs.

She added that the module would also emphasise on other issues such as dating, masturbation, pornography, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender orientation.

“We seek to educate them on the dangers they face in their daily lives and how to avoid high risk situations, such as premarital sex.

“For example, students with partners are told that they are categorised in the ‘yellow level’ indicating they have to be careful as sex might occur next month, next week, or even tomorrow.

“The warning level would increase to ‘red’, indicating that sex might occur within hours, if the couple go out on a date in a secluded location, or are in a room together,” she said, adding that the module will share techniques on how to delay and avoid sexual activity.

Dr Hamizah said the module would also educate young adults on how to say no to their partner’s call to have sex, yet maintain a relationship.

She said young adults have a tendency to give in to their partner’s request for sex quickly, out of fear of losing the relationship.

“We need to educate them from an early age that sex is not an expression of love,” she said.

LPPKN will train 94 teachers and counsellors from the selected schools in May.

Sex education has long been a taboo subject here in Malaysia where even being in a close proximity with a Muslim of the opposite sex, and who is not a spouse or a family member, is considered an offence.

The rising number of teen pregnancies as well as baby-dumping cases in recent years had led to various effort to address the issue, including setting up baby hatches, a safe place for mothers to leave unwanted babies, as well as a school for pregnant teens in Malacca.

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