Genitalia wiped out of some Turkish school books
Esra Ülkar ISTANBUL
Sixth grade science and technology textbooks in Turkey before (left) and after (right).Images of human genitalia have been removed from some school textbooks in Turkey, stirring a new debate on censorship and the imposition of a conservative agenda.
Abdullah Tunalı, a psychology expert who once chaired the İzmir branch of the teachers’ union Eğitim Sen, compared this year’s sixth grade science and technology textbooks with those used in last year’s curriculum, finding that the images in a chapter titled “Reproduction, Growth and Development in Living Beings” had been controversially changed this year.
“In the past, the inner structure of genitalia was explained to children in appropriate ways for their development, just like heart and kidneys were pictured. But the sixth grade science and technology textbook has been seriously censored this year,” Tunalı said on Nov. 11.
In the new version of the book, genitalia have only been drawn on the cell level, while the reproduction chapter has been “evaded” with photos of a mother and a baby, as well as cute animals such as polar bears, he added.
Tunalı also claimed that the same section is now being taught “shortly, superficially and in a slapdash manner.”
“We think the introductory information about a subject that is covered in more detail in the eighth class is not being taught healthily, as it has been censored,” he said.
“If scientific information is not taught at schools, a child’s development can be harmed,” Tunalı added, warning that such “censorship” may lead children to look for adult-only, missing or misleading material on the Internet.