JEDDAH: RIMA AL-MUKHTAR
Published — Thursday 6 February 2014
Last update 6 February 2014 1:34 pm
Sex education for Saudi children at schools is vital to prevent abuse and reduce the high divorce rates in the Kingdom, according to a Saudi psychologist. Sameera Al-Ghamdi warned that ignoring sex education would result in children being abused mentally and physically, or see them grow up ignorant about healthy sexual practices.
“When we demand sex education at schools, this does not mean we want to encourage sexual activity or immoral behavior. We want parents to know that sex education does not conflict with the tenets of Islam,” said Al-Ghamdi.
“The goal is to instill this culture, which is an inseparable part of human life, by enlightening the younger generation about their reproductive systems and bodies,” she said.
Al-Ghamdi said the lack of sex education has contributed to the rising divorce rate and increasing sexual malpractices.
She said many parents in conservative societies would not have discussions on sex with their children because they consider it a taboo and embarrassing subject.
Modern technology has allowed young men and women to get information on sex without adult supervision, Al-Ghamdi said.
Muneera Al-Zahrani, a private school manager, said sex education at schools would prepare students for marriage. “We don’t usually talk about these issues with students. We are actually forbidden to mention this topic even if they ask questions about it,” she said.
“This would be a good move especially since most students get married right after they graduate from school or even sometimes while they are still at school,” she said.
Layla Masry, a stay-at-home mother, said it would be better to have professionals educate younger people about sex rather than have them learn about it from their friends or television programs.
“Almost everyone has access to social media, television and other ways to learn about sex. Children are curious and eager to learn more about everything and in my opinion we have to satisfy this need the right way,” she said.
“I believe that schools can give them the proper education and knowledge about any subject rather than have them Google the information and learn about it the wrong way,” she said.
Ahmed Mal, a banker and father of three girls, rejects this idea. “We know that it’s a human instinct but there is no need to put a spotlight on it by having discussions, especially with those who are quite young or students that are not married,” he said.
“Students at a young age are curious and would want to learn more about it. They might want to practice what they learn and we would later regret teaching them about it. I am against this and will never let my children learn about it before they are married,” he said.