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Controversial sex ed guideline had no humanities input in S.Korea: lawmaker

The Education Ministry’s controversial guidelines on sex education, which have been heavily criticized for its sexism and bias since being issued last month, were coauthored by nursing and public health professionals without any input from humanities experts, a ruling party lawmaker’s office revealed Sunday.

According to Rep. Jasmine Lee of the ruling Saenuri Party, the national standard on sex education, which cost the government 600 million won ($499,000), was cowritten by a total of 19 individuals. Of them, nine had degrees in nursing, six in public health and four in education. But the writing staff did not include any experts in humanities, such as philosophy, sociology or gender studies, the office added.

Lee also revealed that the Education Ministry did not consult with the Gender Equality Ministry when coming up with contents for the guidelines.

“Over half of the contents in the guidelines are relevant to philosophy, society, culture and law,” the lawmaker said in a statement. “And it makes no sense that the manual did not include a single expert in humanities as its authors.”
A South Korean schoolteacher is preparing for her class in an empty classroom. Yonhap
A South Korean schoolteacher is preparing for her class in an empty classroom. Yonhap

The guidelines, prepared as a manual for sex education for teachers nationwide, have been fiercely criticized by civic groups and experts for its misleading and sexist remarks. Among the criticized statements is “males’ sexual desire can arise quickly on impulse, regardless of time or place,” and that “people of the opposite sex should not be alone together by themselves.”

The manual also stated that “date rape can occur in situations where a man spends a lot of money on dates, as it is natural for him to want a commensurate compensation from the woman.”

Lee suggested the Education Ministry come up with a new version of the manual to include input from the Gender Equality Ministry and humanities experts. 

By Claire Lee (