Sex education in schools row: Harsh Vardhan clarifies views entirely his own

Jun 27 2014, 20:47 IST
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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Sylvia Mathews Burwell, US Secretary of Health in Washington on Wedesday at a multilateral meet of health officials. PTI Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Sylvia Mathews Burwell, US Secretary of Health in Washington on Wedesday at a multilateral meet of health officials. PTI
SummaryUnion Health Minister Harsh Vardhan scrambled to clarify that his comments on sex education in schools was...

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan today clarified that he does not propose a ban on sex education as suggested by a prominent newspaper through banner headlines today.

"I am a medical professional who has embraced rationalism and I whole-heartedly support pedagogy that is scientific and culturally acceptable.

"Anything abrasive to common sensibilities and articulated as such by responsible persons should be discarded and replaced by consensually accepted learning processes," the Minister, who is presently on an official visit to the United States, said.

He was reacting to a newspaper report which said that he had stated in his website that sex education in schools should be banned.

Vardhan clarified that the view expressed on the website was entirely his own and made in the context of the UPA government's 2007 decision to introduce the Adolescence Education Programme (AE) in its original form.

Even the chief ministers of UPA-ruled states had objected to it and subsequently it was modified, he said in a press statement issued by Health Ministry.

As chief ministerial candidate of his party in the Delhi 2013 election, Vardhan said, he had full right to make his agenda for education transparent, among other subjects of governance.

Value-based school learning processes are common in all countries and he had intentioned implementing such a format in Delhi's schools, he said.

"Crudity and graphic representation of culturally objectionable symbols as manifested in the UPA's so called sex education programme cannot be called sex education. Every education system must strive to have an ideal curriculum and to that extent my stand is valid," the Minister said.

"Sex education that builds societies free of gender discrimination, teenage pregnancy, HIV-AIDS proliferation, pornography addiction etc. should be the goal," he added.

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