Sex Education | A right violated repeatedly

Photo OLIVIER PONTBRIAND, La Presse Archives

Quebec’s future Culture and Citizenship course should include sex education, but the Ministry of Education has not yet defined the concepts to be covered.

Alexandre Sirois

Alexandre Sirois
The Press

Sexuality education is a “violated right” of young people in Quebec, criticized, three years ago, a coalition that unites several community organizations working in this field. Oh, nothing seems to have changed now.

Posted at 5:00 p.m.

Last month, we reported in our pages that Quebec teens are still very much “virtually without any sex education in school” after high school.

The offer is still variable in geometry. And it’s pathetic.

Of course, the pandemic contributed to the weakening of this offer. We have not yet overcome, across the network, the difficulties that exist in implementing such content. The health crisis is an added obstacle.

Let us remember, however, that the first pilot project of this dossier was launched in 2015 … Seven years ago! Do we have to wait a long time before finally being able to say that we offer our young people knowledge as basic as what they have learned in their French or math lessons?

It is not acceptable.

Let us examine here that our elected officials do not shake their thumbs. Last year, the CAQ government formalized the disappearance of the Ethics and Religious Culture course. The latter will be replaced by a course on culture and citizenship in Quebec, which should include sex education.

Making sex education a real place on the topic timetable is a big change, its impact should not be underestimated.

As a reminder: in 2018, Quebec added 5 to 15 hours of sex education classes to Quebec schools. Immediately, everyone applauded. But quickly, teachers said they had trouble finding where to integrate these new ideas into an already overflowing schedule.

With a specific course and a designated teacher, we are somehow back to the era of the Personal and Social Training (FPS) course, which disappeared in 2000. So this is a clear improvement. .

But watch out. Experts in this field warn those who dare to believe that this is a miraculous solution. The devil is in the details. And the Ministry of Education, which is currently working on the content of the Quebec Culture and Citizenship course, is well on its way to not forgetting it.

If the ideas of sex education have always disappeared in recent years, not just because of the pandemic, we are told. This is also because there is still trouble with the teachers responsible for it.

These need, above all, additional support. Not all teachers feel ready and willing to intervene when they are challenged by their students on issues such as those related to sexual violence, for example.

Many specialist stakeholders have already lent a hand to educational institutions. They are willing to do more.

However, they wonder if the resources are available.

The ÉduSex coalition, which brings together nearly a hundred members – including most community organizations – estimates that Quebec injects less than $ 5 per student per year “to allow schools to offer courses in sex education ”and it is not enough.

Others were also surprised about the training that would be offered to future teachers of the Quebec Culture and Citizenship course and the depth of sexuality education ideas they had to discuss with their students. The training content offered in recent years has been approved by the Professional Order of Sexologists of Quebec, but the past does not guarantee the future.

Let us recall in conclusion that the announcement of the Quebec Culture and Citizenship course last year took the form of a political marketing stunt. Extreme enthusiasm because it’s not yet time. You will allow us to judge the tree by its fruits, especially with regard to sex education.

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