Protecting our children through PEERS

Education deputy director-general (policy sector) Datuk Sulaiman Wak. Pix by Nur Syahirah Marzuki

PUTRAJAYA: The Education Ministry is hitting the refresh button to boost awareness on reproductive and social health education (PEERS) among the public especially school children.

Education deputy director-general (policy sector) Datuk Sulaiman Wak said due to the worrying trend of sexual crimes against children lately, the time was right to jog public’s memory about the existence of PEERS.

“Such education is important to equip school children with knowledge, skills and values so that they can make informed and responsible decisions on matters related to social and sexual relationships,” he told reporters today.

In this respect, Sulaiman said, the Education Ministry would organise a programme this coming Monday called “PEERS: A Day @ Pre-schools.

He said more than 200,000 pre-schoolers enrolling in kindergarterns run by the ministry and other government agencies nationwide would simultaneously undergo four-hour learning about PEERS.

“After that, the teachers will distribute brochures on PEERS to the children for them to share with their parents or guardians at home,” he added.

He said pre-schoolers would be introduced to the anatomy and different physiology of a boy and a girl.

“At this age, they also need to know what construe as good touch and bad touch. They must be able to differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate touching and how to stay safe,” said Sulaiman.

Knowing the different types of touching would be crucial, he said, because the statistics had shown that 94 per cent of sexual crimes cases against children were committed by adults whom they knew.

“With such knowledge, it will help the children to identify unsafe situations and seek help from their parents or teachers.”

The nation was recently shocked by the news of a man who had raped his teenage daughter more than 600 times over the course of two years. He pleaded guilty to 632 charges of sodomising, raping and sexually abusing his daughter.

The 36-year-old father of three has been sentenced to 48 years in jail and 24 strokes of the cane.

Sulaiman said PEERS was part of the Health Education curriculum for all levels from pre-schools to secondary schools.

“The PEERS component comprises 75 per cent of the Health Education Curriculum followed by healthy eating (15 per cent) and first aid (10 per cent).”


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