Prof Rose-Marie Belle Antoine

Teachers must be trained before they are allowed to educate students on sex.

This suggestion came from President of the Trinidad and Tobago Family Planning Association, Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine.

She was commenting on concerns raised by several religious organizations about the inclusion of sex education in the Primary School Curriculum.

While some religious bodies are opposed to teaching children about sex at school, there are other organizations sceptical about the way in which this will be done. One such organization is SWAHA.

Head of SWAHA, Pundit Hardeo Persad, told Guardian Media yesterday the organization is yet to discuss this matter as such he could not confirm whether they were against it.

He recommends consultation to ensure the approach taken by schools are agreed to by all stakeholders, including denominational boards.

Professor Antoine also agrees that proper consultation and training must be done.

“Train the trainers and the other way, of course, the Family Planning Association, as we have said before, we are willing to have a direct role with the Ministry of Education to go into schools”, said Professor Antoine during an interview with Guardian Media yesterday.

She agreed with the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha that parents have to play a critical role in teaching children about sex. However, she emphasized that educators also have a part to play.

“We do not think it should just be to ask a teacher, just as we do not think it should just be a parent to speak to any child because these are very difficult discussions to have with children or anybody”, Professor Antoine noted.

Antoine is adamant that teaching children about sex will empower them and not encourage them to engage in such acts.

She added, “Do not leave it up to the child to go behind your back and find on the internet or wherever else they go. And again, there have been studies showing that once children are more aware and they become more responsible about sex and there is statistics showing the correlation”.