As the new school year approaches, the education ministry has chosen on Friday to clarify some matters about the controversial sex education debate that has been going on since parliament passed the law back in 2022, saying that nothing has changed in the existing curriculum, which has been taught in schools since 2011.
“The education ministry has not made any changes related to the course in question, from 2011 until today,” they said in a statement.
Commenting what changed after parliament passed the bill, is that the course will also be offered to teens in lyceums.
It is already being offered to all other school levels from pre-school to gymnasium.
“As far as primary education is concerned, the course is taught and will be taught exactly as it has been taught for twelve years, since 2011, without any changes.
“Never, during these twelve years, has there been any serious problem or complaint,” the ministry said.
According to the ministry, the purpose of the course is to teach the correct treatment of life issues and to cultivate skills that mainly concern the self-protection of children from sexual abuse, the development of healthy relationships and correct behaviours, and the strengthening of empathy and zero tolerance for violence and bullying.
The ministry added that the course will be taught by teachers who have already received and continue to receive training on the subject.
For educators at the lyceum and technical schools, further training on the subject matter will be provided.
“The content of the course has been prepared, for twelve years, by pedagogues (university and teachers), based on multiple sources, with full respect for the particularities of the age of our children,” the ministry said.
The ministry added that parents that have questions can reach out to the ministry about the subject matter at the following email addresses: [email protected] (primary education) and [email protected] (gymnasium and lyceum education).
Controversy has followed sex education, despite it being taught in schools for the past twelve years, as following a parliament vote about the matter far-right now independent MP Andreas Themistocleous led a rallying call to not allow the subject in schools, as it would teach children about homosexuality and gender fluidity.
Themistocleous and mainly religious parents oppose the subject matter, fearing it would open the way for promotion of “gender fluidity” and undermine traditional family values and the Christian faith. During a debate in the legislature Themistocleous had said, “they will teach kids that there are 64 genders” so that “Kostakis who was born a boy, then became a Marigoulla.”
Back in 2010, there was a demand of a children’s rights protection group seeking a law that would allow teachers to help children that were victims of abuse or violence, by speaking to them and alerting the authorities. The education ministry then tried to draft a bill on the sexual abuse and exploitation of children, but the matter was taken over by deputies from the House human rights committee who wanted to broaden its scope.
This resulted in the holistic sex education law which envisages “the teaching and learning, based on the curriculum, in relation to the gnostic, emotional, physical and social aspects of sexuality, and aims to equip the child or adult, attending primary and secondary school, public or private, with knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that would strengthen them, so that they are aware that their choices affect their own welfare and the welfare of others, to understand their rights and seek their safeguarding…. Understand and enjoy their sexuality responsibly, safely and consensually…”