Tunisia Becomes the First Arab Nation to Introduce Sex Education in Schools
Sex has always been a difficult topic to speak of in our part of the world; it is one of the Arab culture’s strictest taboos. In fact, most families go to extreme lengths to avoid talking about sexuality; just mentioning something that could envoke a discussion is considered inappropriate.
Fuel is only added to the fire when many young adults, in their curiosity, resort to alternative platforms such as pornography, which gives them an inaccurate representation of what sex is about. Consequently, our society suffers from dangerous repercussions— marital rape, the absence of consent, and violence, to name but a few.
Tunisia is attempting to break the taboo; the Tunisian Association of Reproduction Health in cooperation with the Tunisian government, the United Nations Population Fund and the Arab Institute for Human Rights, will introduce sexual education to children in all schools across the country in an effort to make them aware of themselves and those around them.
The content will not be limited to one discipline as teachers will be trained to embed it in different parts of the curriculum.
It is not the only time an Arab nation has tried to implement sex education; in 1995, Lebanon attempted to introduce sex-ed in schools, yet pressure from religious authorities brought the program to a halt.
Tunisia has learned to avoid Lebanon’s mistakes, announcing that the program will be ‘religiously-sensitive’ and simplified for younger children to protect them from harassment.
The lack of formal sex education pushes sexual nomenclature to street slang, which in turn, links shame and embarrassment to the whole subject. Perhaps, if we undertake a different approach, our view of sex, which is a normal part of life, could be changed for the better.