The announcement on teaching sex education in primary schools from next year drew a mixed reaction from parents, with some saying that it was too early for kids to know about the birds and the bees.Business manager Dian Azmi, from Gombak here, said she didn't agree that sex education should be taught in primary schools."It is too early for children to learn about sex education but the authorities could start it in Year Six because that is when children hit puberty and may experience sexual urges," she said, adding that she would not talk about sex with her 7-year-old daughter.
"I now teach her what is right and what is wrong, like not letting strangers or boys touch her body. I will talk with her about sex and relationships when she gets her period."SJK (T) Tun Sambanthan parent-teacher association chairman S. Murali also didn't agree with teaching sex education in primary schools.
Seth Yahya, a father of three, who is a former SK Bukit Damansara PTA chairman, said getting primary schoolers started on sex education was a good idea but the module should focus more on sexual awareness and safety.
"They don't need to learn so much about sex but on how they can be protected, such as knowing when they are being violated. It will also become a foundation and prepare them for sex education in secondary school.
"For primary schoolers, the school is a happy place to play with their friends. Topics like sex and relationships have yet to enter their minds. I don't think it would be effective to teach them at that age.
"It's acceptable if it is taught to Year Five or Six students because that's when they start thinking about relationships and wanting to have a boyfriend or girlfriend."
University Malaya Medical Centre psychiatrist Dr Jesjeet Singh Gill said parents had nothing to worry if the sex education module for primary schoolers was appropriate for their age.
"The syllabus will have to be planned properly and tailored to their needs, starting with things like differences in gender, and gradually moving on to the more technical things that they will learn in secondary school."
He said he didn't feel that children would be encouraged to seek out sex if they were exposed to sex education at a younger age.
"Children will always be curious but exposing them to sex education will provide answers to questions they may have."
On the other hand, several secondary school students were all for sex education in schools as they acknowledged that what little was taught about reproduction was not enough.
Muhd Nur Muzakir Kamaruddin, 14, of Sekolah Kiblah, Bangi, said basic sex education was taught during religious lessons at his school but it wasn't effective as most of his friends treated it as a joke.
"Students don't take it seriously because they feel they know more than what the teachers are telling them.
"It would be more effective if sex education was taught without assuming that we're ignorant about it."
Amirul Asraf Azmi, 14, from SM Bandar Tasik Puteri, Rawang, said there were times when he wanted to find out more about sex but felt that adults were quick to brush aside his questions.
"When I ask my parents, they clam up. My teachers are more open about it but there are some questions that I'm too embarrassed to ask.
He added that sex education as a school subject would clarify information that he and his friends had learnt from the Internet.His schoolmate, Mohd Nezrin Mohideen, said they learnt about the reproductive system in science classes but that it wasn't enough to cover all there was to know about sex and relationships."It's all basic. Hopefully, sex education will give youths a clearer picture and convince them about the dangers of premarital sex and other social ills."Nurul Iman Zamri, 15, of SMK Agama Kuala Lumpur, said sex education should be taught to students in Form 4.
"I don't think younger students are ready for sex education as they are not mature enough to realise its importance or understand what is being taught."Kameni Vicky, 15, of SMK Bandar Baru Sentul, said her parents had told her about the birds and the bees when she was 13."They taught me to be wary of boys whom I don't know very well. They also told me that I could get pregnant if I had sex with a boy."My teachers do talk about sex in class but they don't fully explain things."She said she would appreciate a sex education module that answered all the questions on sex that students wanted to ask but couldn't.