Minister ‘positive’ on sex education

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Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said his ministry has a positive stance on introducing sex education in schools after criticism from MPs to his initial statements that it would “complicate” the curriculum.

On Wednesday, in an initial intervention, Prodromou argued that if mandatory sex education is introduced, this would require schools to change the timetable, which would take time and discussion.

He also expressed concern that the bill would be unconstitutional, citing the opinion of the Legal Service.

The issue heated up when House Speaker Annita Demetriou called Prodromou’s intervention “blatantly unethical” and violated the separation of powers.

In his response on Friday, Prodromou said his ministry supported the introduction of sex ed in schools, “but it should be done correctly”.

He argued that “introducing a lesson designed for sexually educating students would violate a regulation on school time schedules, which the House itself approved”.

Prodromou said the regulation gives power to the Cabinet to decide on the timetable of state schools.

In his announcement on Friday, Prodromou said that the ministry had taken action to promote the sex education of school students.

“The Ministry, in cooperation with the organisation ‘Voice’ (to combat sexual abuse of minors), has prepared a relevant booklet for children and therefore, the law under discussion in the Parliament is superfluous”, said Prodromou.

The Commissioner for the Protection of Children’s Rights, Despo Michaelidou, said: “It is sad we are still discussing whether we should introduce sex education, an issue that will offer children a safety net”.

Michaelidou said the issue is not how the subject is regulated but the need for a political will to actually teach it in schools.