Sex education included under PE subject, says deputy minister

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching speaks at a press conference at SJK (T) Subramaniya Barathee in Gelugor.

GEORGE TOWN: Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching today expressed disappointment over the decision of some teachers to replace physical and health education (PE) classes with other subjects which they consider more “useful”.

She said PE, from pre-school to secondary level, contains important lessons to raise awareness among students on the inappropriate behaviour of paedophiles.

“I hope the teachers do not treat the subject as unimportant and replace it with Mathematics or English,” she said at a function at SJK (T) Subramaniya Barathee in Gelugor today.

Teo was commenting on FMT’s report that the demand for child sex was growing in Malaysia.

An academic had suggested that the government work towards better sex education in schools.

Teo said sex education remained largely taboo among Malaysians, which was why it was placed under PE.

She said the subject sheds light on the difference between safe, unsafe and uncomfortable touching.

She added that the government was working on revising the syllabus after taking into consideration input from parents and interest groups, to ensure that sex education improves in schools.

She named the internet and social media as major hurdles, saying children were relying on unverified information on sex.

To counter that, Teo said, the syllabus is expected to be updated by next year.

“Sex education does not mean we are teaching kids how to have sex,” she added. “That is completely wrong.”

An expert previously told FMT that studies have shown while abstinence fuels more attempts to have sex, education on the subject delays most youths’ first sexual experience.

The expert also said the current syllabus on sex education was not effective enough as it didn’t educate children about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases.