Sexual health curriculum drafts slammed by critics

FINDING the "right" way to teach school kids about sex is proving to be a near-impossible task for the government department responsible for rolling out the first national health curriculum.

Since Federal Labor came into power, the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority has been trying to strike a balance between what parents believe is too much and not enough information for young minds to take in.

When the first draft was released last December, ACARA chief executive Robert Randall said the first Australia-wide curriculum was an "important milestone" for young people across the country.

He said more than 1200 people helped write the first draft which was open for public debate until late July.

The original points to be covered between Year 2 and Year 10, included, among other things, "identifying practices that support reproductive and sexual health, celebrating and respecting difference and diversity in communities and bullying and harassment".

Leaked excerpts of what was reportedly the final draft revealed references to sexually transmitted infections and homophobia had been removed.

Sexual health advocates slammed it for shying away from the big issues, like HIV, while Christian lobbyists claimed it didn't place enough emphasis on abstinence.

Youth Empowerment Against HIV/Aids director Alischa Ross told Fairfax that at a time when STIs had risen to "epidemic levels", the curriculum was a "step backwards" for many states.

The final draft is expected to be tabled in Federal Parliament later this year.

A copy of the original draft can be found at http://www.acara.gov.au

APN Newsdesk contacted the ACARA for comment but a response was not received by deadline.



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