The Rationalist Society of Australia welcomes the decision of Australia’s education ministers to implement a national consent and relationships curriculum.
From 2023, a new national health curriculum will teach students from foundation to Year 10 about consent, respectful relationships, gendered stereotypes, coercion and power imbalances in an age-appropriate way.
Federal, state and territory education ministers are expected to sign off on the new approach when they meet in April to finalise the national curriculum.
RSA president Dr Meredith Doig said the new curriculum would have a positive impact in educating youth about consent and respectful relationships.
“The RSA has long supported appropriately targeted sex education aimed at providing younger children with the skills to deter sexual predators and report sexual harassment, and at keeping older children safe from sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies and exploitation by internet predators,” she said.
“As the policy on our website states, sex education should not encourage sexual activity, but we believe that keeping children ignorant about sex is counter-productive and ignores the reality that teenagers and even pre-teens are increasingly sexually active.
“So the news of this new approach is very much welcome.”
The RSA will write to all education ministers to thank them for pursuing the reform and to urge them to ensure that all schools, including independent religious schools, are required provide students with evidence-based sex education.
“We know that young people in some sections of society are still being taught that abstinence is the only way. But that approach is damaging and completely discredited,” Dr Doig said.
“Everyone of reproductive age should have access to and education about appropriate contraception.”
Si Gladman is Campaigns & Communications Coordinator at the Rationalist Society of Australia. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @si_gladman