A recent health survey conducted in Madhya Pradesh has stated that more than 70 percent of the girls want sex education to be made a part of curriculum in schools.
The Madhya Pradesh Voluntary Health Association (MPVHA) spoke to 250 girls in the age group 10 to 19 years in 12 districts of the state. The girls indicated their desire to receive sex education, saying the awareness would help them remain healthy and not get distracted.
The survey found that over 60 percent of the girls were facing a communication gap with their parents due to shyness and fear, and 80 percent were unaware of physical changes in their bodies during adolescence.
The survey was aimed at collecting, exchanging and disseminating health related knowledge and information to promote health education, said MPVHA programme coordinator Parshuram Tiwari.
The survey was carried out in the districts of Datia, Guna, Shivpuri, Raisen, Sagar, Tikamgarh, Betul, Balaghat, Hoshangabad, Mandla, Chhindwara and Seoni.
As many as 47 percent of the girls indicated that they were sexually harassed outside their homes. Of these, 53 percent said they had never complained to their guardians about it.
While 65 percent said they wanted to be financially independent so as not to be a burden on their families, 27 percent were eager to get jobs to support their families. However, 13 percent said they did not want to work for a living.
Around 65 percent said they had left school because their parents did not want them to study.
Tiwari said there was a need to focus on adolescents, as they constituted 22.8 percent of India's population. He regretted the lack of a single government health policy or programme exclusively for adolescents.
He added that the survey findings could also be true for neighbouring districts in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, which also had similar social customs and practices.