A high school student said, "At this age, students know and do everything more than adults thought students might do, but during sex education, lecturers just talk about the things like sperm and eggs." According to figures from last year's survey by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average age for adolescents to start having sex is 13.6 years old. Although the average age of children's sexual intercourse has declined, sex education in schools still remains at a theoretical level of knowledge. Additionally, students are more likely to learn knowledge in a distorted way such as inappropriate sexual experiences or pornography. As a result, many experts raise the need for more accurate and practical sex education for students, including contraception.
"In the case of sexual assault, it is also the fault of a woman who is dressed in an erotic way" A student at D High School in Ulsan heard this during a sex education class last year. Such male-oriented and outdated sexist remarks are not so rare in school sex education. In addition, schools often substitute sex education for self-study or the time just for watching a video clip. Such inadequate sex education is frequently reported, and there are many reasons.
Nominal Sex Education
Aside from the provincial education office's guidelines, sex education at schools is being carried out in a "time-wasting" manner, with poor educational content. Especially in high school, most schools replace sex education with self-study for CSAT. Even if the school provides a video clip on sex education, students study other subject or chat with friends.
Lack of Professional Instructor
Sex education is often primarily handled by health teachers, but in reality, it is difficult for one health teacher to take charge of sex education in all classes. Furthermore, the deployment rate of the health teacher is only 78 percent. Other schools in 22 percent do not even have health teachers, which limits them to making continuous and long-term sex education plans. As a result, schools have to ask outside lecturers for sex education, but the current state-approved system is a private license. Most people who pass the first written test and complete the second six hours of remote education are issued the license.
Narrowed-minded Standard for Sex Education
The Ministry of Education has come up with a new kind of sex education guideline, “national-level sex education standard", but the revised standard is also still stuck in the gender stereotypes and false precautions. The revised standards for high school sex education include the division of masculinity into "strong, adventurous, competitive," and femininity into "sensitive, talkative and friendly," and give solution like "If you have sexual urges when you are alone with your lover, go out to a crowded place." and "Meet in public for healthy dating." Another problem is that the focus of preventing sexual violence is only on training the victims how to say “no”. For example, there were contents like “To prevent becoming a victim of sexual coercion, definitely say no when I feel like I don't want to be a victim of sexual coercion,"(elementary school) and "Practice in a firm attitude and rejection repeatedly"(high school). "The sex education based on abandonment, abstinence, and moderation instills a victim-inducing awareness that sexual violence occurs because the victim gives reasons," said Cho Jin-kyung, head of the Teen Women's Human Rights Center.
Then, how do other countries currently conduct sex education? Sweden is the first country in the world to mandate sex education, and it starts at home at the age of four. Since middle school, contraception education is provided and condoms are distributed free of charge. The idea of Sweden is that sex is not something that should be ashamed or hidden, but a part of life that should be taught properly in the curriculum. In the case of Germany, the spectrum of sex education is very wide, including body position in sexual intercourse, and teaches safe and accurate contraception. They practice contraception like putting condoms on rubber genitalia, which is closely linked to real life. In Canada, they teach teenagers how to deal with the danger situation related to sexual intercourse and how to do sanitary masturbation.
According to the survey by the Korean Teachers and Education Workers' Union, one out of four sixth graders in elementary school had seen pornographic material, but only about half of the children knew about physiological changes, such as menstruation and wet dream. "Treatment of sex only as a taboo or risk does not take into account the experiences and practices of changing adolescents," Researcher Cho said. "By satisfying the curiosity about sex through unofficial channels, it can lead to distorted awareness, the perspective of sex."Relating this, an official at the Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education said that it will be difficult to change a lot in a short period of time, but they will continue to carry out education by grafting sex education to all areas of our lives through adult rights counseling teams.
As the proverb ‘Many drops make a shower’ says, It is expected that little efforts to change, even though it is difficult to achieve great results in a short period, will come together and serve as a stepping stone for better sex education later on.
조흥연 기자 email@example.com