How a sex therapist started teaching sex education at a school in Baku
Sex education lessons in Baku school
It has been three days since a school in Baku began teaching sex education to teenagers as part of a pilot project. Sex therapist Shabnam Sadigova conducts the lessons. According to her, children should be prepared for adulthood and protected from the consequences of casual relationships. Parents have reacted with enthusiasm.
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Sadigova has become a pioneer in a rather sensitive issue for Azerbaijani society. On November 1 she began teaching sex education at school No. 72 in Baku.
JAMnews was able to find out that the school was the winner of a grant competition as part of a project to develop and introduce innovations in the education system. Sadigova was hired by the organizers of the project as a teacher and specialist in the field.
According to Sadigova, the lessons will cover topics such as adolescent puberty, contraception, abortion, gender-based violence, sexual orientation and gender identity.
First the organizers of the lessons talked to the parents and conducted a training session with them. They were sympathetic to the initiative, and agreed to classes for their children.
“Each student should have their own source of information that they trust”
“Such lessons are taught in many foreign countries, and I have always dreamed of becoming a teacher on these topics. Because the health and well-being of children directly affects their academic performance,” Sadigova says.
According to her, children pass the most important periods of their development at the school desk, and it is important that during these years they receive healthy information about themselves and those around them.
Research shows that adolescents who have received such education are much more aware of the risks of violence than other peers. They are aware of the dangers of unwanted pregnancies, problematic romantic relationships, risky sexual behavior, and understand how to protect themselves from all this.
I would very much like students to also benefit from this project, and the lessons would be added to the curricula,” Sadigova, who is also a part-time teacher, said.
“Misunderstanding destroys the psyche of the child”
A participant in the “Schoolchildren’s Friend” project, Yulia Bayramova, claims that in most cases children are subjected to harassment and violence by loved ones:
“In the family, no one wants to understand this. And this misunderstanding violates the child’s psyche, distorts their sense of reality. They cannot find the right words, do not find support, they are not believed. Adults around them say they brought it on themselves. But at this age, a child is not responsible. We want to help children to be heard.”
What do parents say?
The parents of students who will take classes in sex education have been trained with the participation of specialists, and agreed to the subject being taught.
According to Sanubar Mammadova, with the help of this class children will be able to distinguish between useful and harmful types of behavior:
“I always tell my daughter not to talk to strangers who try to get to know her outside of school. So that she does not take anything from anyone she does not know, and she does not go anywhere with them. I am very glad that such knowledge and skills will now be taught to them at the school itself, and they will be able to protect themselves from these risks.”
The parent of another student in this class, Aysel Khudiyeva, in a conversation with JAM noted that despite bringing up two children, she experiences difficulties in some areas:
“I am very satisfied with the training, because we were shown statistics on Azerbaijan and other countries where such lessons are taught, and we saw the difference. I was taught how to talk to my children, how to make friends with them.”
The mother of a fifth-grade student, Gulshan Imranova, expressed her concern about the increase in cases of violence against children. In her opinion, such lessons should be held not only in Baku, but also in the regions of the country, where parents and children should be educated about how to behave in extreme cases. “The child must learn to become the master of their body and mind,” she added.
Education expert Kamran Asadov, in an interview with a JAMnews correspondent, said that sex education lessons are now a social obligation:
“Especially I want to note that lessons insexual education do not consist only of teaching intimate life. Here are found the foundations of such sciences as biology, physiology, sociology and psychology.
In the body of every boy and every girl who has reached adolescence, changes occur. Most, due to lack of information, are ashamed of what is happening to them, and some meet such changes with fear. In rare cases it even leads to suicide. All this is the result of a lack of proper sexual education of the younger generation.
Each age category has its own sexual problems. Specially trained people should teach such lessons in schools, educate children. Because it is a medical, psychological and physical issue.”