Statutory rape will be included as a topic in the new health education syllabus on the PEERS (reproductive and social health education) curriculum, starting from next year.
The Education Ministry told StarEdu that general information on statutory rape will be included in the Year Six textbook, while a more comprehensive discussion on the topic in the context of sexual assault will also be made available for Form Five students.
The ministry highlighted the importance of the new syllabus in providing students with opportunities to explore and nurture positive values and attitudes towards sexual and reproductive health, alongside developing their self-esteem and respect for human rights and gender equality.
The ministry assured that the content of the new syllabus will be “age-and-developmentally-appropriate” while still being mindful of Malaysian culture and values.
PEERS, which uses a spiral-curriculum approach that begins at an early age and builds on new information on previous learning, aims at empowering young students to be accountable for their own decisions and behaviour.
Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim told the StarEdu that while parents are responsible in providing basic knowledge on these topics and to monitor the whereabouts and wellbeing of their children, there is a still need for well-trained teachers and instructors to impart a more detailed view of current issues concerning sexuality education.
National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Harry Tan told the StarEdu that initiatives that provide new and relevant information – especially those concerning students and the law should be welcomed.
“It’s no different from how we teach students about the harms of drug abuse and how trafficking is punishable by death. It’s not that we’re teaching them the law school curriculum – we’re just giving them basic information so that they’re aware that there are laws on consent,” he said.
We are all here for a more well informed and educated Malaysians for years to come!
By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya