Saudi study recommends sex education in schools

Shoura Council member says subject should be taught 'with some constraints'.
STUDY RESULTS: A study in Saudi Arabia has recommended the introduction of sex education in public schools.
By Andy Sambidge
Wed 14 Apr 2010 08:06 AM

Sex education should be introduced into Saudi Arabia's public schools, a new study has recommended.

The report by female Saudi students at King Saud University’s Special Education Department concluded that there was a need for sex education in schools, Arab News reported on Wednesday.

According to the study, 80 percent of participating parents, who were aged between 20 and 60, approved of the recommendation.

The survey also found that 43 percent of parents were reluctant to share such information with their children themselves, the paper added.

Almost 90 percent said they were concerned their children may be sexually harassed or abused.

Mohammad Al-Sheddi, a member of the Shoura Council and the Human Rights Commission, told the paper he believed that children have a right to information that would protect them.

“The Shoura recently approved a protocol to protect children from being exploited for pornography. Children should be equipped with enough information that would allow them to differentiate between right and wrong, and detect whether they are being used or lured into a situation in which they may be abused,” he said.

Al-Sheddi said more conservative people could misinterpret the term “sex education”, adding that the subject should be taught in schools with some constraints.

Last month, an Emirati social worker who wrote a bestselling book on sex education said that she plans to write a series of three books on the subject for kindergarten, junior school and high school pupils.

“I want to write something for the younger generation, from kindergarten to high school,” Wedad Lootah told Arabian Business in an interview. “It’s all about the development of children and the sex education they need.

“First there will be a picture book for kindergarten that will grab their interest, and then for the bigger ones, grades one to six, there will be Islamic teachings in simple language,” she said.

Although approved by the Mufti of Dubai, her first book was censored in Saudi Arabia, and its opponents have declared its topics taboo. Lootah received death threats from conservatives who argue she is guilty of blasphemy.

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