Separating boys and girls in schools will not stop teenage pregnancy and the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a Catholic bishop said.
San Jose Bishop Roberto Mallari said this problem should not be blamed on the differing gender of students in classrooms.
“Teen pregnancies and HIV incidents are attributed not to the heterogeneity of students in classrooms, but to the lack of thoughtful regard to values and formation at home, in communities and in sad cases, in some classrooms,” Mallari said in an interview.
Mallari, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (CBCP-ECCCE), believes that the move is not the answer to these problems as there is no scientific research backing it.
“Besides the great big world out there is designed for a system of dynamic social interactions that is almost boundless: no sex or gender, no age, no socio-economic status, no religion, no race, nothing separates man from the rest,” Mallari added.
He noted that it is also important for students to interact with adults to talk about these issues.
“We need to have an encounter with each other because it is the best way to grow and discover Jesus in people,” Mallari said.
“Schools need to design more opportunities for focus engagements with adults and with community and church leaders to talk about the problems, how these problems create a culture of indifference and value degradation and how the youth of the new generation can participate in the functioning of social structures,” he added.
Earlier, National Youth Commission chair Ryan Enriquez proposed split classrooms for boys and girls from Grades 7 to 12 to curb teen pregnancies and HIV.
The Commission on Population reported that close to 200,000 women aged 15-19 get pregnant each year.
HIV is the virus that causes Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Reports said over six thousand people tested positive for HIV after engaging in paid sex since December 2012. (PNA)