Sexual Education in Quezon City
International City Profile
Investigation Question: How does the prevalence of sexual education for citizens of a city affect how 'good' a city is?
Sub Question #1: How do people that are being newly introduced to sexual education feel about it?
Sub Question #2: How does the wealth gap affect the amount of sexual education people are receiving?
Sub Question #3: What are the controversies surrounding sexual education (why would schools not have sexual education)?
Quezon City (QC) is the largest city of Metro Manila, and furthermore is the one with the largest population. The region provides a lot for the Philippines as a whole being its political, educational, economic, cultural and social centre. There are 20,000 graduates from university adding to its productive pool each year, furthermore, 40% of the population is under the age of 20. The literacy rate of the general population in QC exceeds the national average, placing its rate at 98.32%.
QC contains the Philippines' biggest service economy, inclusive of over 58,000 registered businesses. It contains over 28 shopping centres in the city, one of those being the third biggest shopping centre in the world. Moreover, the city holds the main broadcast stations of the biggest media union. It also has a lot of event planners and managers of productions. It also has a lot of Information Technology (IT) companies, and has the second highest density of IT buildings/parks in the Philippines (Quezon City: The Place to Be).
Poverty in Quezon City
QC is a very populous city and shows an interesting range of contrasts because of the very large wealth gap. There are rich people driving to private schools and shopping centres, when literally metres away from them, are people living in poverty. Many people who live in Quezon City, send their children to private schools, but amongst the population there are those who are part of the 25% in the Philippines that live in poverty.
All of Quezon City is an urban environment. Even though there are some people who live in poverty, they are still amongst the urban city. If one is in traffic in Quezon City (which happens very often), there will be many, many people who obviously live in poverty, right beside private cars of some of the richest people in the Philippines.
An interesting story is of Arnold Bolata and his wife Nancy, who have a combined income of around 20,000 Pesos a month which is equivalent to just over 462 USD, meaning they barely have enough to put food on the table three times a day and send their children to a public school, which costs only 100 Pesos annually (Mind the wealth gap).
But, throughout the poor and the rich, something remains the same. The lack of sexual education given in schools. In a lot of cases, money results in a better education. And whilst this may be the case from an academic standpoint, many of the richest families in Quezon City still have children who are completely uneducated when it comes to sex.
In Quezon City, most of the private schools are in a similar district. This means that all of these similar schools are not getting a sexual education, and families can not get it from anywhere else, for even if there children all went to different schools, none of them would be receiving an appropriate amount of sexual education
The Philippines has always struggled with sexual education, due to the high percentage of the population being Catholic and the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines being against sex education. However, in 2012, there was the final passing of the Reproductive Health Act. For the first time in history, over 9 million Filipinos would have sex education in public schools, care for post-abortion and for marginalised people: free contraceptives.
But, the passing of this law did not help as much as expected. There is a large amount of poverty, and people don't know how to reduce the risks of STDs and pregnancy. This has caused more sex trafficking in young women. In Quezon City there are approximately 2000 bar and spa workers that are women, and so many of them have ended up in the sex trade to better support their families.
A 2013 survey in Metro Manila (of which Quezon City is part of), surveying 100 males and females in the sex trade found that only 20% of male and female street workers, alongside 65% of female bar/spa workers had ever taken an HIV test. More than half of them had children, with 18% having a child under 18 and 22% having three or more children.
The Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines have stated that a better solution to reduce poverty than sex education in schools would be to eliminate the government's corruption and create jobs for everyone. Even though approximately 80% of the Philippines' population is Catholic, 70% of the population supported the Reproductive Health Act (Urada).
Finally, all private schools in Quezon City are under a Catholic program, and most of them get their funding from the Church. This means that the schools are run by either nuns or priests, meaning that despite the Reproductive Health Act, many are still against the introduction of sexual education. For example, in Saint Pedro Poveda College (where many of my cousins attend), they do not receive sexual education until Year 13, where a large part of the message projected to them is not to have sex before marriage.
Since Quezon City is an urban environment, the limited sexual education that is received there is still much higher than in a rural environment (which would usually be in one of the provinces in the Philippines). In rural environments, there is almost no sexual education and there is a prevalence of overpopulation, teenage pregnancy and STIs. However, there are quite a few charities working in the provinces of the Philippines to try and introduce sexual education for adults and teenagers.
I conducted a survey on my family who lived in Quezon City who go to, or send their children to private schools. All of the non-international private schools in Quezon City (such as Poveda, Ateneo, St. Paul etc.) are Catholic schools, meaning that they are run by either nuns or priests. This obviously means that the sexual education implementation can often be limited due to the morals of Catholicism. The survey consisted of five questions, surrounding how sexual education was taught at schools.
The first question was to see if the survey responses were from parents or adults, as shown, the overwhelming majority were parents, which may make the survey results different in comparison to if most of the responses were from adults. However, I feel like the adults would have more experience in this because they would be able to compare their child's sexual education to their own.
Everyone who responded to the survey said that they believed that sexual education is extremely important. I think this is interesting, especially in comparison to the last question shown later due to the amount of people that said sexual education doesn't change how good a city is. I also think that sexual education is extremely important, and as through the information shown above, so does the majority of the Philippines, which begs the question, if Quezon City is such an important city with so many young people, why is there still not a sufficient amount of sexual education?
I think that it is interesting to see how much sexual education people think they or their child are/is receiving. If sexual education is as important to the people of Quezon City as it appears to be, but no one is getting a lot of sexual education, then there must be an implementation of it in schools sometime in the near future.
This question was asking to compare the sexual education in QC to other places in the Philippines. Almost everyone's response was that whilst it is not a sufficient amount, it is still a lot better than in other parts of the Philippines. I think that this has the implication that QC has the ability to move forward faster than other parts of the Philippines and has a lot of potential to implement a sexual education system that would benefit its citizens and further advance the city.
*This question was not clear enough as the amount was not stated and should read "Do you think the lack of sexual education makes Quezon City a..." thus meaning that 6 responses should have been worse city (found through clarifying with survey respondents*
Despite the fact that many people think that sexual education is very important and that there is not enough of, 1 third of survey responses indicated that it didn't actually make a difference to the city whether or not more sexual education was implemented. In my opinion, I think that it would help because it would decrease teenage pregnancy, help slow down the overpopulation of the Philippines and prevent many STIs amongst other health issues.
Sexual Education At Home
In QC, a series of interviews were conducted, asking where sexual education should come from. Not only did many believe that it should be taught from parents and in the home first but some parents even said that they would prefer not to have it taught at school (Guzman). Here's what they had to say:
Translation: It should really be from the parents. it shouldn't only be from the school, but from the parents. The support of the parents and all family is needed.
Translation: It starts from the home... What to do, what not to do. It should start from the home.
The parents... really the parents. You cannot say that the children will be perfect. You have to give them guidance on what they should do.
Parents... I don't want them to be taught [sexual education] in public schools.
I think that a lot of people want to give their kids a sexual education, and believe that the schools and parents should work together to achieve this knowledge. However, there are still some people who have children that aren't really aware of STDs and I feel like this is why sexual education should be introduced in schools, and not just knowledge being passed from the parents to the children.
Quezon City is an urban environment, and this puts in a very advantageous position. Compared to the rural province areas of the Philippines, there is better education, less poverty and more opportunities. However, these opportunities can become easily wasted due to the lack of sexual education. Throughout multiple surveys and interviews, the statistics show and the people say that sexual education is very important.
In the future, I think that the government should try to enforce more implementation of sexual education in schools, and take into account that religion and people's personal beliefs should not be placed above health issues and education issues.
I think that QC definitely has the ability to become a better city by this implementation of sexual education. I also think that in both public and private schools, the sexual education that children are given should be increased and have both at a high level in order to teach kids how to practice safe sex. Finally, I think that there should be sexual education courses provided for adults too, so that in the case that the child doesn't get any sexual education at school, they can still inform their children with the correct knowledge.
Guzman, Nicko De, and Patrisha Torres. "[SURVEY] Who Has to Teach Sex Ed? QC Residents Say Family First." Mulat Pinoy. Probe Media Foundation, Inc., 14 Oct. 2014. Web. 22 May 2015.
"Mind the Wealth Gap." Reuters: The Wider Image. Thomson Reuters, 28 Aug. 2013. Web. 15 May 2015.
"Quezon City: The Place to Be." The Local Government of Quezon City. The Local Government of Quezon City, n.d. Web. 15 May 2015.
Urada, Lianne. "A Green Light for Reproductive Rights in the Philippines." East Asia Forum. East Asian Bureau of Economic Research, 15 Aug. 2014. Web. 16 May 2015.
Golfhill Gardens Location Map. Digital image. Golfhill Gardens. Megaworld Resort Estates, Inc., n.d. Web. 21 May 2015.
Quezon-city-edsa-munoz-2010-01. Digital image. Wikimedia. Wikimedia, n.d. Web. 21 May 2015.