Sex education will no longer be imparted in schools in Madhya Pradesh.
This follows instructions from Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was upset amid protests against graphics and pictorial descriptions used in the course material provided under the adolescent education program (AEP).
"The government has decided to stop sex education provided under the adolescent education program in its present form in the schools," official sources said.
"The chief minister has instructed the school education department to stop imparting sex education and informed the union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Arjun Singh about it," an official said.
The National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) funds AEP.
While 19 of the 48 districts in the state were covered under the first phase, 11 more were brought under its purview this year.
"The union government has devaluated Indian culture and its values. I believe that the text material on the subject was not submitted before you in a proper manner or else you would have not approved it," Chouhan has written to the HRD minister. "Instead, the younger generation should be taught about yoga, Indian culture and its values."
Some 3,000 of the 8,000 schools in the state were covered under AEP, which was quite successful in sensitizing the students on several topics on biological changes during adolescence and on AIDS.
But the controversy created by some groups, including the Congress and a section of teachers, over the alleged explicit material in the teaching kit forced the government to close it. These groups claimed it was too early for Class 9 and 11 students to study about sex.
Chouhan reportedly called a meeting of principal secretaries of the school education and the health departments Thursday, following which it was decided that AEP should be ended in the state.
"State AIDS Control Society chairperson Salina Singh's statement before the chief minister explaining the importance of AEP that would be an effective tool to create awareness about AIDS and HIV did not work," an official told IANS.
"Today you stop AEP, tomorrow you will say that teaching biology should also be stopped because the books also contain pictures of human anatomy more or less similar to the ones in the study material in question," said an activist working for the welfare of women and children in the state.
Officials who conducted the program, however, blamed the untrained teachers and the uneducated politicians behind the "premature death" of the program.
The program is seen as a big help in spreading awareness about AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, besides preventing unwarranted pregnancies during adolescence.
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