Seriously MOE? Abstinence?

At the time of writing, the following two news articles reported the Ministry of Education's drafting of a revised Sexuality Education Programme (SEP):

From Yahoo! News (SG)
A new focus on sexual abstinence

The Ministry of Education (MOE) has drafted a revised Sexuality Education Programme (SEP) to boost emphasis on abstinence over contraception, reported The New Paper (TNP).

The new programme, Breaking Down Bridges (BDB), will be taught to Secondary 3, first-year junior college and centralised institute students, said the paper.

TNP also reported that the old programme faced some criticism from some Catholics due to the emphasis on using contraception, and the lack of awareness given to abstaining from sex. While it understands from MOE that the new programme will be ready in 2012, no details have yet been confirmed.

An MOE spokesperson told TNP that the revamp is part of its "periodic review" of the SEP curriculum to "ensure that it is updated and relevant" to students.

Parents of students in Catholic schools in Singapore welcomed the change to the programme.

Yahoo! Singapore spoke to Marilyn Koh, 47, a Catholic whose son attends a Catholic school, "I'm really looking forward to MOE changing their focus on the SEP. I was not very comfortable with the previous curriculum as it was not catered to Catholic teachings."

Francis Chan, who also has a son in a Catholic school, agreed with the change, "It's a lot more appropriate for Catholic schools to be teaching the children to abstain from sex, instead of promoting contraception. I'm perfectly fine with the current programme running in a secular school, but Catholic schools should be imparting Catholic values, right?"


Online article by The New Paper
Sex-ed revision sparks questions

CONTRACEPTION may have to give some way to abstinence in a revised version of a Sexuality Education Programme (SEP) here.

The New Paper understands that a draft of this revised SEP for all schools here has already been drawn up – and that the 30 or more Catholic Schools here should find fewer issues with it.

Some communities find sections of the current programme overly promote the use of contraception, and lack emphasis on abstinence.

They are especially offended by a video showing how a condom should be used.

Others, however, are concerned about what the refreshed programme will entail.

The articles are not clear about what is meant by "boost emphasis on abstinence over contraception" and "contraception may have to give some way to abstinence". Is MOE adding some emphasis to sexual abstinence, reallocating emphasis to abstinence away from contraception or actually going for the "abstinence only" nonsense?

Secondly, why is Catholicism explicitly brought up in the articles? Again, is MOE placing additional weight on the "moral teachings" of Catholics over the well being of ALL students? No religion should hold sway over the secular (sexual or otherwise) education of students through their own religious teaching. There should be no sectarian bias in any of MOE's education programmes

Another point: Shouldn't sexual education be primarily decided by the Health Promotion Board instead? I'd think that sex ed. should be taught based on the science and data instead of religious "morals".

So, MOE, whatcha doing actually?