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EDITORIALOPINION
Let's Have "The Talk"...
Kim Tae Rim  |  taerim1991kim@korea.ac.kr
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승인 2012.10.08  21:09:24
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Kids reach a certain age when their parents call them in for “the talk.” Still, more often than not in Korea do schools have “the talk” with them in their stead. The country faces mounting criticism regarding its education on sex, and whether enough is indeed enough.

Kids reach a certain age when their parents call them in for “the talk.” Still, more often than not in Korea do schools have “the talk” with them in their stead. The country faces mounting criticism regarding its education on sex, and whether enough is indeed enough.

The quintessential period to be informed on sex is undetermined but recommendable for children at a young age. In Korea, it is as if a system was created in which parents feeling too awkward to teach their kids about it pass down those responsibilities for schools to handle. Then again, teachers here, just as traditional and conservative as the parents are, would feel reluctant to push for or lightly introduce even to students on such a sensitive subject as sex. It is indeed uncomfortable, yet necessary.

Currently, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Korea makes it a requirement of schools to commit 10 hours of sex education to students per year. This is fine, but what is called into question is the content of said sex education and whether they are useful or up to task. Teachers can be reluctant to broach the subject, with some educators reluctant to mention sex at all. How much is too much? Perhaps too much information may give one too many ideas to a young child, with a probability of robbing him of his innocence.

Sex is a big deal, but the problem underlying this is that Korean students do not know that it is as big as it is. The very reason they are not in the know is that they are not fully informed on what they are getting into. According to Statistics Korea, in 2011, 1.8 out of 1000 teenagers between the ages 15 and 19 gave birth as compared to 2009 statistics in which 1.7 out of 1000 teenagers gave birth.

What our parents learned and what we learn on sex are completely different issues; as society is getting more liberal now, older generations create a kind of tension by pulling back and adhering to tradition. It was good in past society to marry young and have lots of kids, as it was also good for that same past society to ignore the burdensome need for sex-ed and “allow for nature to take its course”—at least, it used to be good. Generations pass and go, and although it is right to respect the old days, it is not right to ignore something like sex-ed.

While students may learn or actually not learn about an essential subject as sex, he or she may essentially acquire that knowledge from somewhere else— and could this perhaps be somewhere unreliable? The child may learn about it through the media and perhaps other people, but his school education may inform him something completely different, or not even, at that. Why confuse the kid further than he already is by the unspoken but frequently referenced phenomenon that is sex in society today?

What makes it worse is that the Korean government has otherwise begun indirect measures to deal with this uncomfortable situation, without addressing it full-on. Access to multi-rooms and DVD rooms have been denied to students under 18 in order to control the swelling amount of underage students committing sexual acts. But this does not tackle the core issue at hand and merely bypasses it completely. Attack the source, not the result.

Introduction and detailing on sexed itself is the central solution to decreasing the gap between generations, as in teaching both the young and the old on such a dire societal issue, they may possibly reach a happy and equal ground between each other. Ignorance is no longer bliss and what students know will not necessarily kill them. Information on sex itself may be a sensitive and uncomfortable issue to handle as an adult, but it should not be too much that educators should shy away from; is that not their job?

 

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