ST letter by Mr Anthony Yeo
30 April 2009
THE clarification and statement by Senior Minister of State for Education S. Iswaran, as well as yesterday’s letter by Ms Deeksha Vasundhra from Aware’s former Comprehensive Sexuality Education development team (‘What the school programme teaches students’), should put to rest the concerns of the current executive committee of the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) regarding homosexuality being taught during sex education in schools.
It is also gratifying to learn that the Ministry of Education (MOE), in its letter yesterday, ‘MOE: No complaints from parents, Dr Thio’, has endorsed the programme offered thus far, with no complaints from Dr Thio Su Mien and parents. This is a sure testimony that there is no issue with the content.
It is even more reassuring that MOE had permitted this programme to be taught in schools, even if it contained minor information on sexual identity and orientation, as we know how prudent MOE can be – to the point of being prudish at times – when it comes to such matters in sex education.
In recent years, MOE has engaged our centre to offer training to full-time school counsellors in understanding and counselling students with gender identity issues. The aim is to equip them with knowledge and skills to provide guidance and counselling to students who have such issues.
I appreciate the concern of the newly elected Christian exco members that Aware should not be pro-gay or promote a homosexual lifestyle.
Unfortunately, this concern should have been expressed to MOE or been clarified and debated at Aware’s platform, instead of by ousting the old guard.
Since the members are Christians from the same church, they should use a religious platform to deal with this issue and not invade a civil society that is meant to be non-sectarian and secular.
I have also been involved in my professional capacity with various programmes and projects of Aware for more than 15 years. In all these years, I have not encountered any of the newly elected Christian exco members. Nor had I the faintest idea that Aware was in any way pro-gay or promoted a homosexual lifestyle.
Now this has been raised by these members, it is indeed a stunning revelation, not only to me but also to many who have been involved with the work of the committed old guard of Aware.
Counselling and Care Centre