In this age of seamless communication, will separating female and male students make a difference in controlling the rising cases of teen pregnancies and HIV incidence?
This is the question following the proposal by the head of the National Youth Commission (NYC) for the creation of separate class sections for female and male students in grades 7 to 12. In making the proposal, NYC Chairperson Ryan Enriquez cited the increasing cases of teen pregnancies and HIV incidence among 15 to 30-year-olds for his proposal.
According to the NYC chair, co-ed classes have led to early age amorous relationships and where there are activities involving both, leads to premarital sex. The temptation to indulge in sexual acts, according to him, is there. However, there was no study conducted or relied upon by the NYC chairperson in drawing such conclusions although the proposal has already been submitted to Congress and will be forwarded as well to the Department of Education.
If there is any basis at all, it points to the statistics which show that some 196,000 Filipinos between the ages of 15 and 19 years old get pregnant each year based on the Commission on Population (POPCOM) report in July.
Likewise, the rate of HIV incidence among 15 to 24-year-olds nearly doubled from 17 percent in 2000 to 29 percent in 2009 based on the data from the health department. In June this year, there were 1,006 new HIV cases, of which 52 percent was from the 25 to 34 age bracket, while 29 percent was from the 15 to 24 age bracket.
The numbers may be alarming but is the solution the right one or is it just going going back the the days when schools are gender-specific specially private institutions?
According to a study, the following are the causes of teenage pregnancy: poverty, broken home, separation of couples, single parent, death, peer pressure or influence, lust, religious beliefs, rape and sexual abuse, alcoholism and drug abuse, lack of knowledge, environmental influence, and pornography. The close contact between students of the opposite gender is but the after effect of the many contributory causes. With the advent of internet and social media, pornography has grown to be a constant threat to young minds.
The NYC at best can veer towards sex education rather than segregation which, even during those days of the co-ed regime, did not prevent teen pregnancies.