Indonesia to start sex education for all grades

Indonesia to start sex education for all grades
Indonesian high school students.

The Education and Culture Ministry will include sex education in the curriculum for all grades in order to prevent sexual harassment in schools, cases of which have been reported by many victims across the country recently.

"We will introduce the topic of reproductive health in all grades, from the early childhood education programs [PAUD] to high schools," the ministry's director of PAUD development, Erman Syamsuddin, said as quoted by Antara news agency on Monday.

There have been a number of reports of late about sexual violence against children in Indonesia, including one case at Jakarta International School (JIS) as well as hundreds of victims of abuse allegedly perpetrated by AS, alias Emon, in Sukabumi, West Java.

In an effort to combat the rampant cases of child abuse, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered his administration to ensure the 2002 Child Protection Law will give heavier penalties to child molesters, as a method of preventing sexual violence against children.

The Criminal Code carries a punishment of seven years' imprisonment for molestation, while the Child Protection Law carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison plus Rp 300 million (S$32,600) in fines.

One of the efforts Yudhoyono outlined in the Presidential Instruction for Child Protection focused on education and raising public awareness about sexual abuse, as many organisations have also urged the government to introduce sex education in schools.

In 2012, Education and Culture Minister Mohammad Nuh rejected several groups' demands that proper sex education be taught in schools in order to protect children from abuse, as he believed it would promote indecency among the country's youth.

On Monday, Erman said the ministry would also issue a government regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) on child protection, which was included in the president's instruction for the national movement against the sexual abuse of children.

"The Perppu will cover various topics regarding child protection, including reproductive health and a minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, an increase from the previous maximum 15 years," he said.

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