Sex education: Push to expand classes to curb STDs

Sex education: Push to expand classes to curb STDs


Lauren Martyn-Jones, The Courier-Mail December 1, 2016 7:00pm

SEX education in schools could be expanded under a new five-year plan launched by the State Government.

The landmark blueprint, designed to curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, stresses the importance of improving the education and support provided to young people.

“School-based education programs for children and young people are a critical starting point for promoting positive sexual health outcomes, minimising harm and reducing stigma and discrimination,” says the strategy, released yesterday by Health Minister Cameron Dick.

A two-week survey by The Courier-Mail found an overwhelming 84 per cent of parents believed all Queensland state schools should be required to offer sex education.

In southern states, all schools provide sex education classes and parents who are opposed to the lessons have the option of excluding their child, but in Queensland, the decision about whether a school offers sex education is up to the principal.

Education Minister Kate Jones announced a parliamentary inquiry would examine the adequacy of sex education in Queensland.

The Sexual Health Strategy released yesterday goes further, identifying education as a “priority action” for combating the spread of sexually transmitted illnesses.

The strategy proposes expanding the implementation of relationships and sexuality education under the national curriculum for students in Prep to Year 10, “to promote optimal sexual and reproductive health, minimise harm, reduce stigma and discrimination and highlight the importance of respectful relationships and violence prevention”.

The Australian Curriculum’s health and physical education syllabus includes a component specific to relationships and sexuality education.