Sex Ed in Islamic Schools

I asked a friend’s daughter who is fifteen years old if the Islamic school she attends teaches sex education. She said no. When I asked her why, she said the teacher was uncomfortable with the topic. That’s a little disconcerting to hear. A teacher who should be qualified to teach a subject especially if she – or he – is the biology teacher or the physical education teacher should also be required to teach all aspects of the subject.

Many Muslim schools, however, fall short in terms of adequately addressing all issues surrounding this topic, or avoid it altogether. I’m not sure which is worse: no information or all the wrong information. Dr Nadeem Memon, of the Islamic Teacher Education Program, highlights some very important points about this topic in his post, Why don’t we Teach Sex Ed in Islamic Schools? He mentions how to approach the subject in a way that makes it relevant for students.

Given the place of modesty in Islam, Muslim schools should teach this subject within the necessary boundaries – males taught by males and females taught by females. I remember being in eighth grade and the boys being separated from the girls to discuss the topic and to give it the due level of comfort and candid discussion. This was in public school. I also taught this topic as part of the freshman biology course for high school students in public school. While we did not segregate the classes, we were required to take additional training by the district in order to teach the subject.

It is one of the most critical issues that an adolescent needs to know about. Given the overly sexualized nature of North American society, we can’t leave society to teach it nor can we leave it in the hands of misinformed individuals. Many times, teachers in both Muslim and public schools require the additional training to dispell myths, culturally unsound material, urban legends, as well as learn about the most up-to-date information.

As a followup to Dr Nadeem’s post, Reem Javed highlights issues surrounding gender interaction and sex education in the Muslim school classroom. While she brings up some relevant points, some of the comments include how do you teach students to interact in a respectful and modest way. What are your thoughts?

~ by Omaira on January 15, 2013.

2 Responses to “Sex Ed in Islamic Schools”

  1. My 16-year-old cousin has these mantras she told me learnt somewhere about gender interaction – something like PPL – public, purposeful and limited. She had another one i can’t remember. I liked how she remembered it.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment. Years ago, Dr Altaf Husain, Dr Idris El Bakri and I developed a workshop based on gender interactions as part of COMPASS – MSA National’s Management Training Program. One of the key concepts was PPL – acronym for people, but also stood for as you mentioned: Purposeful, Public and Limited. First was intention of interaction, second means of interaction, and finally length of interaction. It’s awesome to hear that it’s still around after all these years. Thank you!

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