Sex education in schools aims to help young people make informed decisions about their sexual health and wellbeing. According to Sarouphim and Issa (2020), the adolescent stage is a significant developmental stage in which young people experience physical, cognitive, and emotional changes. Therefore, this stage is characterized by resolving psychosocial concerns and examining life goals. Schools provide an important environment for children and adolescents to learn and develop their sexual identities. Therefore, they must provide for students’ curiosities in this topic to help them grow and develop with the help of experts in sexual and reproductive health. In Lebanon, the curriculum in sex education is underdeveloped, with the ministry of education having the latest edition in 2009 (Mansour, 2021). In this case, there is under the coverage of reproductive health with young people experiencing delayed sexual identities, development, and relations. Lebanese schools should incorporate sex education in their curriculum to bolster the solidification of teenage sexual identities and sexual knowledge.
There is underdevelopment of sexual education in the Lebanese curriculum, thus affecting the sexual identity among adolescents. According to Mansour (2021), issues like HIV and AIDS are shallowly covered in the schools under biology sessions only. Besides, the country’s national curriculum topics involving reproductive health exist in a mandatory booklet for students at the secondary level, but the administrators disregard their coverage in class (Mansour, 2021). In this case, the under-coverage of sex education in Lebanon is because of taboo and neglect, which makes most adolescents in the country naïve about matters related to their sexual identities and reproductive health.
Sexual identity among Lebanese children and adolescents is complex because of their upbringing circumstances. According to Sarouphim and Issa (2020), adolescents in Lebanon are affected by physiological and psychological changes accompanied by the country’s society which is influenced by religion, politics, and cultural challenges. Besides, most youths have challenges coping with mixed information about the Eastern and Western cultures, thus making them undecided about their traditions and that of other regions. In this case, the adolescents and children find it challenging to choose between their unique values and traditions and thus promoted by social and mass media. Therefore, implementing sex education in schools will help them transition into adulthood with abilities to make informed decisions about their sexual identity.
Some people may argue that implementing sex education in the school curriculum overexposes children soon. This argument has some truth because sexual education covers more than basics and exposes children to some aspects of their reproductive health. However, this information is needed because it brings more advantages than harm. According to Bouclaous et al. (20210, there is a positive correlation between school-based sex education and adolescents’ sexual health. These interventions help them get knowledge about HIV, avoid earlier sex, use protection during intercourse, and reduce the number of partners. Besides, sexual education is more vital during the infancy stages than late in the teenage years when children have not socialized into societal norms (Mansour (2021). In this case, sex education can delay young people’s sexual engagements, but it helps reduce risky sexual activities or getting STIs. Therefore, educators and guardians need to ensure that their children are involved in sex education which entails safety and basic information.
In conclusion, Lebanese schools should incorporate sex education in their curriculum to bolster the solidification of teenage sexual identities and sexual knowledge. There is a lack of progress in sexual education in the country, thus leading to problems like making uninformed sexual decisions. Besides, the sexual identity in Lebanon is complex because of the cultural perspectives influenced by religion and politics. While others may argue that sex education in schools exposes children to so much at their earlier ages, this presents more advantages than harm.
Bouclaous, C. H., Alrazim, A., Chababi, J., Jamaleddine, W., Nassar, E., Maalouf, A., & Slika, M. (2021). Association between sources of sexuality education, sexual beliefs and behaviours in Lebanese young adults. Lebanese American University Repository. https://laur.lau.edu.lb:8443/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10725/11938/%28Postprint%29%20Association.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=y
Mansour, M. (2021, December 25). The need for a holistic sexual education in Lebanese schools. Watchdogs Gazette. https://watchdogsgazette.com/science-2/the-need-for-a-holistic-sexual-education-in-lebanese-schools/
Sarouphim, K. M., & Issa, N. (2020). Investigating identity statuses among Lebanese youth: relation with gender and academic achievement. Youth & Society, 52(1), 119-138. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0044118X17732355