Life Style

The defender of rights revives the debate on sex education courses

This is one of the recommendations of the annual report of the defender of rights, presented Thursday, November 17: guarantee and strengthen sexuality education (EAS) “to make children more aware of the right and respect for privacy”. The courses provided for by law are not “still not effective”, points out Claire Hédon, who is relaunching the debate on a hot topic since the start of the school year.

In September, a report by the General Inspectorate for Education, Sport and Research (Igesr) revealed that less than 15% of students benefited from the three EAS sessions in primary and secondary school, and less than 20% in college. These are mandatory, since a law of 2001, but in fact the account is not there.

The Minister of Education himself recognized this and signed a new circular to make these sessions effective. “from this school year”. Pap Ndiaye says he wants to do sex education ” a priority “. Questions from ” consent “, of ” public health “, of “respect for others” are “became central today”, he declared on November 9 in the program “Quotidien”, on TMC, also announcing the publication educational sheets so that teachers can teach without hesitation on these subjects ».

Lift the brakes

Will these new resources be enough to lift the brakes? Jérémy Destenave, professor of Earth life sciences and sex education at college, doubts it. “The resources, we have them, what we lack are the hours, he said. The texts are clear on the content but do not say who must do it, nor when, nor how. Concretely, when a teacher wants to get involved, he is obliged to take time on the lessons of colleagues. » The solution in his eyes? Integrate these sessions into the students’ schedule.

For Céline Sierra, on the other hand, any new support will be welcome. “There are a lot of resources for middle and high school but few for primary”, says this school teacher. However, the two teachers agree on the other major obstacle to EAS: the lack of training.

“There is no initial training, and continuing education in primary education is mainly focused on the fundamentals, reading, writing, counting, she assures. However, without accompaniment, one feels a little alone to speak about an intimate subject and undermined by the polemics. » In 2014, the “ABCDs of equality” had to be taken down, and in 2018 rumors circulated about teaching masturbation at school.

Courses that are often reduced to information on contraception and STIs

To address these “sensitive issues” teachers can call on the school nurse, but the lack of staff makes it difficult for them. Some establishments also call on approved associations, such as Family Planning in the public sector or Cler Amour et famille in the private sector under contract, although these interventions are quite rare, due to a lack of resources.

Parents and students do not always know that they are entitled to this education. “Mhis daughter is in seventh grade and has never heard of these sessions,” testifies Loli. Gaspard, 18, remembers “a few college courses”, but regret not having had more because there are “learned things” in particular concerning “pornography”.

Sex education is essential ” to raise awareness (…) respect for the human body, prevent sexual and gender-based violence and promote an egalitarian vision of relations between women and men”, recalls the defender of rights, who deplores however that the courts are too often reduced to information on contraception or the prevention of sexually transmitted infections”.


The other points of the report

The rights defender’s annual report this year focuses on the right to privacy for children. In particular, he recommends:

To include mandatory modules in the law digital education in middle school, including digital rights (image rights, delisting, etc.), and to offer resource spaces and training for parents.

To raise awareness among national education professionalse to the reality of cyberbullying in schools and to train them in identifying these situations.

Raising parents’ and students’ awareness of cyberbullyingwith an information session every school year.


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