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Importance of Sex Education in Schools

When we think about school, we often think about academic subjects and grades. But school is also supposed to be a place where students are educated, and education doesn’t only stop at academic knowledge.

Through school, students need to know about what’s right and wrong, cultivate moral values as well as character development amongst others. 

The importance of sexual health literacy has been underlined with the rise in cases of sexual assault. To ensure that the occurrence is brought down and victims know how to seek help, education has to start from schools.

Trigger warning: Mentions of sexual abuse and assault

Rising issues

According to Statista, the number of child sexual abuse cases in Singapore rose from 56 in 2014, to 261 in 2020.

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Currently, sex education is conducted for students from Primary 5 (about 11 years old) to Junior College (about 18 years old).

It is carried out through:

Science lessons

  • Concept of reproduction and inheritance
  • Reproductive systems
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Contraception
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Consequences and issues relating to abortion and pre-marital sex

Character and Citizenship Education (CCE)

  • Managing interpersonal relationships

Form Teacher Guidance Period

  • Protecting themselves from sexual abuse, both online and offline. 
  • Their right to safety
  • How to seek help if they are sexually threatened or abused

Growing Years (GY) Programme

  • Building healthy and respectful relationships.
  • Dating, going steady, and marriage.
  • Issues in sexual health and behaviours.
  • Consequences of teenage sexual activity and pregnancy.
  • Influence of the online media on sexuality.
  • Safety and protection from sexual abuse and grooming.

Empowered Teens (eTeens) Programme

  • Information on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV.
  • Abstinence, and how to avoid contracting STIs and HIV.
  • Skills on making responsible decisions, being assertive, and how to say “no” to sexual advances and resist peer pressure.

With concerns over the rising occurrence of child sexual abuse, Workers’ Party (WP) Member of Parliament (MP) Raeesah Khan proposed for there to be mandatory sexuality education for children as young as preschoolers.

It was in hopes to inculcate a strong culture of consent from the young, in order to diminish the trend of sexual assault in future.

The proposal has not been approved yet.

Is there enough being done for sex education in Singapore?

Debates have been made on the true impact of sex education in our country.

When you bring up sex education to students in Singapore, the younger ones tend to giggle and the older students usually brush it off as “useless”. Why is this the case?

This could hint that younger students are not able to grasp the concept of sexuality in a mature manner and have a shy-away mindset towards this topic.

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The older students probably do not see much benefit in the sex education that they have been receiving. According to TODAY Online, older students found that there was a lot to be improved in terms of the sexual education that they received in Singapore. They mentioned that our local curriculum mainly promoted abstinence and did so in a way that didn’t make students feel comfortable.

However, the benefits of our local sex education have surfaced.

Encouraging signs

According to Liviniyah P., sex education was introduced in Singapore in the year 2000 in an attempt to:

  • “provide students with accurate and adequate knowledge on human sexuality and the consequences of sexual intercourse”
  • develop their intra- and inter-personal problem-solving, decision-making, and communication skills
  • inculcate positive values and attitudes towards sexuality.

The introduction of sex education has proven to have its effects. With the curriculum teaching students about the facts of abstinence and safe contraception, the rate of pregnancy has declined. Statistics from showed that the number of teenage births decreased from 853 in 2005, to 280 in 2019.

This shows that sex education is an important stepping stone to solving the sexuality-related issues in our society.

What can parents do?

It seems that many may feel that there is a limitation to the existing education of sexuality in Singapore, be it in terms of the age that sex education starts, or the content that is taught for these lessons.

Even though there is a standard curriculum set by MOE, every teacher is bound to execute the sex education lessons slightly differently, which can make a big difference to how students feel about the topic. 

Since parents are not able to control the curriculum, they should take more responsibility to educate their children on these important topics.

Sex education should start from home and parents shouldn’t rely on school for sex education. After all, teachers are external sources of education. They can only help and support, but they cannot be the main source of information for the child.

This is also because many sexual assaults come from close family members, and parents need to teach their children to be cautious.

How to identify danger

  • Who not to trust
  • Recognise that even family members can be sexual predators

What to do when they are in danger

  • How to escape
  • How to ask for help
  • Who to ask for help

What to do when they are a victim

  • Who to ask for help
  • Coping with the trauma
  • Removing self-blame


  • What is consent? Does silence, threat, fear, or inability to consent, mean consent?
  • Sexual advances with minors (below 16 in Singapore) is considered rape, regardless of whether they say “yes”
  • Are they really ready, or are they just pressured, be it by their partner or friends?


We have seen the benefits that sex education can do, but is there enough being done? Should there be alterations to the age that we begin sex education and the messages that are being sent out through sex education?

Nonetheless, sex education should not only be limited to schools. It is an extremely important topic that needs to be handled with extra care as it can drastically affect our society.

Parents, as the main source of guidance for their children, can also play a part in ensuring their children’s safety. With enough regard towards such sensitive topics, we can do better as a society.

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.