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Friday March 1st, 2024

Sex Education is OK but must be ‘culturally sensitive’

ECONOMYNEXT – The Sectoral Oversight Committee on Women and Gender met Tuesday (21) in parliament to discuss the ‘Hathe Ape Potha,’ a sex education textbook given to the grade seven students which has aroused much controversy.

The discussion involved many experts including health sector professionals, Education and Health Ministry representatives and the Buddhist clergy and opinions in favour of the book and those opposing the book were taken into consideration.

The parties who mainly opposed the content of the book said it was inappropriate for twelve-year-old readers to discuss masturbation.

Senior Lecturer of the University of Peradeniya, in psychiatry Dr Pabasari Ginige explained the need for improving sex education in Sri Lanka.

According to statistics obtained at a psychology clinic conducted at Peradeniya Teaching Hospital between the years 1984 and 2001, Ginige said that 94 per cent of children who faced sexual harassment have been assaulted by the people they knew.

“Within the considered period a total of 84 children have been sexually harassed and out of them, 73.5 percent of the children were over 11 years and 16.9 per cent were between the ages six to ten. Importantly, 9.6 per cent of them was below six years,” Ginige said.

Dr Ginige pointed out that the content regarding masturbation should not be something to fuss about.

“If it is in accordance with the syllabus, I am of the opinion that those two sentences shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve met many adults who come to the clinics who believed that masturbating is a sin. It shouldn’t be like that because it is a normal process with the hormonal changes. Children should not, therefore, think it is a wrong thing to do. So I think we have to improve sex education in our country in a culturally sensitive manner,” Dr Ginige said.

However, Dr Wasantha Bandara who represented national organizations said that the book is a ‘reckless’ piece of work and said that national standards should be made before preparing such a book.

“It is internationally accepted that standards should be made before preparing material about sex education. The cultural aspects should be considered important. We don’t refuse sex education but when we include certain content we should keep in mind that those don’t appear to be prejudicial. If one monk does something wrong, nowadays there is a trend to generalize that to all the monks. Therefore, we request to create proper standards and policies before creating such a book,” Bandara said.

Prof Medagoda Abhayatissa Thero, who recently criticised the ‘Hathe Ape Potha’ too, shared his opinion at the discussion.

“It seemed to me that although this book was meant to provide sex education, it encourages sexual stimulation. I don’t say that sex education is not necessary but the book is age-inappropriate. Certain content of the book normalizes the unusual behaviour of those who are too matured for their age,” he said.

However, addressing the discussion, Chancellor of University of Ruhuna Dr Akuratiye Nanda Thero said that he is of the opinion that the book does not contain anything inappropriate.

The Committee finally decided to direct the Education Ministry to submit a comprehensive report regarding the ‘Hathe Ape Potha’ and then decide regarding the distribution of book among the students. (Colombo, 22 January 2020)

Comments (3)

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  1. Moiez says:

    Nowadays all the children know about sex,there is no need for a syllabus to teach them, as everyone has got phone in their hands so they find out from internet, even a small child knows what’s sex now.

    1. Nilmini says:

      Actually I think this means that there is an even greater need for sex education. Not all the information regarding sex in the internet is accurate, neither is it entirely safe. Children don’t know enough about sex to know what websites are trustworthy sources and which are not. Additionally, most end up learning about sex from porn sites and these can have an extremely harmful effect on children and they’re understanding of their own bodies and sexual activities. It is far better that they are provided with sex education in schools.

  2. Lion Perera says:

    I read the book in its entirety. I am well versed in the language of Sinhalese. I started reading the book battling the presumption that the opposition directed came from dogmatic religious bias. I reached a different conclusion by the time I was less than halfway through the book. The contents are just, and serves well the Sri Lankan young. HOWEVER, the informal language in the book pulls the message to a zone somewhere in between sinister and perversion. This sort of writing has no place for it to be in casual or conversational language. Keep this sort of thing formal – Get a writer to do the job. That’s all.

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Comments (3)

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Moiez says:

    Nowadays all the children know about sex,there is no need for a syllabus to teach them, as everyone has got phone in their hands so they find out from internet, even a small child knows what’s sex now.

    1. Nilmini says:

      Actually I think this means that there is an even greater need for sex education. Not all the information regarding sex in the internet is accurate, neither is it entirely safe. Children don’t know enough about sex to know what websites are trustworthy sources and which are not. Additionally, most end up learning about sex from porn sites and these can have an extremely harmful effect on children and they’re understanding of their own bodies and sexual activities. It is far better that they are provided with sex education in schools.

  2. Lion Perera says:

    I read the book in its entirety. I am well versed in the language of Sinhalese. I started reading the book battling the presumption that the opposition directed came from dogmatic religious bias. I reached a different conclusion by the time I was less than halfway through the book. The contents are just, and serves well the Sri Lankan young. HOWEVER, the informal language in the book pulls the message to a zone somewhere in between sinister and perversion. This sort of writing has no place for it to be in casual or conversational language. Keep this sort of thing formal – Get a writer to do the job. That’s all.

Sri Lanka’s RAMIS online tax collection system “not operatable”: IT Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s online tax collection system RAMIS is “not operatable”, and the Ministry of Information Technology is ready to do for an independent audit to find the shortcomings, State IT Minister Kanaka Herath said.

The Revenue Administration Management Information System (RAMIS) was introduced to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) when the island nation signed for its 16th International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme in 2016.

However, trade unions at the IRD protested the move, claiming that the system was malfunctioning despite billions being spent for it amid allegations that the new system was reducing the direct contacts between taxpayers and the IRD to reduce corruption.

The RAMIS had to be stopped after taxpayers faced massive penalties because of blunders made by heads of the IT division, computer operators and system errors at the IRD, government officials have said.

“The whole of Sri Lanka admits RAMIS is a failure. The annual fee is very high for that. This should be told in public,” Herath told reporters at a media briefing in Colombo on Thursday (29)

“In future, we want all the ministries to get the guidelines from our ministry when they go for ERP (Enterprise resource planning).”

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government said the RAMIS system will be operational from December last year.

However, the failure has delayed some tax collection which could have been paid via online.

“It is not under our ministry. It is under the finance ministry. We have no involvement with it, but still, it is not operatable,” Herath said.

“So, there are so many issues going on and I have no idea what the technical part of it. We can carry out an independent audit to find out the shortcomings of the software.”

Finance Ministry officials say IRD employees and trade unions had been resisting the RAMIS because it prevents direct interactions with taxpayers and possible bribes for defaulting or under paying taxes.

The crisis-hit island nation is struggling to boost its revenue in line with the target it has committed to the IMF in return for a 3 billion-dollar extended fund facility. (Colombo/Feb 29/2024) 

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Sri Lanka aims to boost SME with Sancharaka Udawa tourism expo

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is hosting Sancharaka Udawa, a tourism industry exhibition which will bring together businesses ranging from hotels to travel agents and airlines, and will allow the small and medium sector build links with the rest of the industry, officials said.

There will be over 250 exhibitors, with the annual event held for the 11th time expected to draw around 10,000 visitors, the organizers said.

“SMEs play a big role, from homestays to under three-star categories,” Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman, Chalaka Gajabahu told reporters.

“It is very important that we develop those markets as well.”

The Sancharaka Udawa fair comes as the Indian Ocean island is experiencing a tourism revival.

Sri Lanka had welcomed 191,000 tourists up to February 25, compared to 107,639 in February 2023.

“We have been hitting back-to-back double centuries,” Gajabahu said. “January was over 200,000.”

The exhibition to be held on May 17-18, is organized by the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators.

It aims to establish a networking platform for small and medium sized service providers within the industry including the smallest sector.

“Homestays have been increasingly popular in areas such as Ella, Down South, Knuckles and Kandy,” SLAITO President, Nishad Wijethunga, said.

In the northern Jaffna peninsula, both domestic and international tourism was helping hotels.

A representative of the Northern Province Tourism Sector said that the Northern Province has 170 hotels, all of which have 60-70 percent occupancy.

Further, domestic airlines from Colombo to Palali and the inter-city train have been popular with local and international visitors, especially Indian tourists. (Colombo/Feb29/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes at 309.50/70 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 309.50/70 to the US dollar Thursday, from 310.00/15 on Wednesday, dealers said.

Bond yields were slightly higher.

A bond maturing on 01.02.2026 closed at 10.50/70 percent down from 10.60/80 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.90/12.10 percent from 11.90/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 12.20/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.30/45 percent up from 12.20/50 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 12.35/50 percent up from 12.25/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 12.55/13.00 percent up from 12.50/90 percent. (Colombo/Feb29/2024)

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