Dialogue: Should Sex Education Adapt To Societal Changes?

(MENAFN- Swissinfo) The question of what should be part of sex education in schools is sparking controversy in Switzerland. While some people prefer a biological approach, others demand that sex education should be more“up to date”. What is your opinion? Join the discussion on“dialogue”!

This content was published on April 25, 2024 - 09:00 4 minutes

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In Pfäffikon in canton Zurich, a teacher who is gay was recently dismissedExternal link after a barrage of complaints from conservative parents. The reason behind their outrage: sex education.

This is not an isolated case. Time and again, concerned parents make headlines when it comes to sex education. For example, conservative Christians want to censor the word clitoris, some parents want to ban sex education by law, and others have gone as far as the Federal Court to have their children exempted from sex education – in vain.

Meanwhile, others demand an improvement of sex education in schools, as for example the youth section of the Social Democratic Party in canton Lucerne, which collected a petition for a“contemporary sex education”.

What is your opinion when it comes to sex education? Join the multilingual discussion on our debate platform“dialogue”:

External Content A selection of articles on the topic

To provide you with information on the matter, the editorial team behind“dialogue”, a project run by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), SWI swissinfo's parent company, has put together a selection of radio and television broadcasts from across Switzerland on the topic of sex education. The selection is translated into the four Swiss national languages as well as English.

Opposing positions

Progressive and conservative views diverge greatly on the subject of sex education in schools.“It would be great if all young people could talk about this subject at home, but this is often not possible. This is why sex education at school is so important,” Social Democrat Zoé Stehlin told Swiss public television, RTSExternal link . She believes that sex education should be more positive and inclusive, addressing different genders and sexualities.

“We have nothing against sex education, especially at secondary level, but it should be primarily about biology,” Jérôme Schwyzer, president of the association Lehrernetzwerk Schweiz told RTS. In his opinion, pupils should be allowed to simply be children and not be bothered with a“woke ideology”.

External Content A school diary at the centre of discussion

In Ticino, the 2023/24 edition of the school diary has caused quite a stirExternal link due to a double page addressing the topic of gender identity. Italian-speaking Swiss public radio, RSI, spoke to Cristiano Corsini, a pedagogist and professor at the University of Rome III about discussing gender issues at schools.

While Corsini understands the concern parents may have, he stresses that these topics come up in young people's lives,“and so perhaps it is better to talk about it in school than on the street”.

Asked about the appropriate age to discuss gender issues – in Ticino the planner is distributed as of the fifth grade – Corsini states that gender issues are already present in primary school.“In fact, they are already present in pre-school. It is therefore not too early to discuss them consciously.”

External Content Not interested in taboos

While everyone seems to know what is best for their children, Swiss public radio, SRF, decided to ask young peopleExternal link for their opinions and wishes regarding sex education in schools. Three of them are Sofia (25), Vera (23) and Laura (22), who are part of the youth network of Santé Sexuelle Suisse (Swiss Sexual Health). The three young women would like to see fewer taboos and more inclusion of for example queer topics when it comes to sex education.

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