Sex education initiative

EDUCATION Minister Nick McKim says he is confident all Tasmanian government schools will be teaching relationships and sexual education by 2014.

Launching the relationships and sexuality education strategy 2012-2014 yesterday, Mr McKim said it was concerning some government schools did not offer this education.

``This will be everything from the nuts and bolts of sex through to the need to not only respect diversity but to actually celebrate diversity,'' he said.

Mr McKim said professional development would be provided to teachers so that they feel more comfortable teaching students about relationships and sexuality.

``Children need to develop responsible attitudes and behaviours so they can make informed decisions about sex and sexuality and develop respectful relationships,'' he said.

``This will be age appropriate and developmentally appropriate education.''

Mr McKim said school principals he had spoken with were supportive of the strategy.

Elizabeth College year 12 student Aratama Rogers said improved relationships and sexual education was welcome.

``It would be really good if they . . . started making young people feel more comfortable with homosexuality and transgender,'' she said.

Miss Rogers also said greater awareness of sex and relationships could help bring down Tasmania's high teen pregnancy rate.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome welcomed the inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex issues in the strategy.

``Having gay and lesbian relatives, or friends with gay parents, is a fact of life for many students of all ages,'' he said.

``The percentage of students who are same-sex attracted will also benefit from their relationships and sexuality being dealt with in an informed and non-judgmental way.''

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