To equip and empower learners in making informed choices and decisions on issues that affect their personal safety and well-being, the Department of Education (DepEd) integrates and ensures an age-appropriate, developmental, and culture-sensitive sexuality education for learners in the K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum.
This is in response to Republic Act 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law of 2012. Stated under its Section 14, the State shall provide an age- and development-appropriate reproductive health education for adolescents, which shall be taught by adequately trained teachers in the formal and non-formal educational system.
As early as Grade 1, learners are taught about "good touch" and "bad touch", which helps them avoid becoming victims of other people's unwanted behaviors.
"Sinasabi natin sa mga bata na may karapatan silang tumangging magpahawak sa kanilang katawan. Dapat alam ng bata yung hawak na walang malisya at may malisya," Dr. Rosalie B. Masilang, DepEd Adolescent Reproductive Health Focal Person and Supervising Education Program Specialist said.
Masilang cited that children at this age are most vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, and that there are cases where the offenders are their relatives. "May mga cases kami na kung saan ang unang nangmomolestya sa mga bata ay hindi kaiba sa kanila, yung immediate family members pa nila," she added.
Sexuality education can be integrated in the curriculum in two ways-natural and purposive. Learning areas where natural integration is possible are Science, Health, Araling Panlipunan, and Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao. Purposive integration can be done in learning areas like Mathematics and Language.
The DepEd emphasized that discussions on sexuality education is not about the sex act, as is the common misconception, but on the science of reproduction, physical care and hygiene, correct values and the norms of interpersonal relations to avoid pre-marital sex and teenage pregnancy.
In Science, sexuality education topics cover the parts of the body, reproductive system, reproductive cycle, and puberty. In Health, topics include personal hygiene and reproductive health. Discussions on issues like gender and sexuality, the Reproductive Health Law, same-sex marriage, prostitution, and gender-based violence are integrated in Araling Panlipunan. Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao covers topics about developmental tasks and actions during puberty, and families' mission on educating and shaping the faith of the learners.
Furthermore, mathematical analysis and statistics, and grammar and vocabulary enhancement in Mathematics and Language classes, respectively, can be taught using data and texts on issues like teenage pregnancy, premarital sex, and sexually transmitted infections.
The DepEd also invests in capacitating its teachers and guidance counselors with appropriate knowledge and skills on teaching responsible parenthood, reproductive health education and life coaching, through Learning Action Cell (LAC).
To make this effort possible, the DepEd partnered with the Department of Health (DOH), Commission on Population (PopCom), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI), and other government and non-government agencies.
Source: Philippine Information Agency