Argentina seems to be that country where practically all public policies that are born with good intentions end up entangled in the worst of cracks and with bad results.
One of these policies is Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE), which was born from a law in 2006 with the aim of guaranteeing the right of all children and adolescents to sexual education understood not only in its biological aspect but also psychological, social, affective and ethical. Among other things, it sought to reduce the large number of teenage pregnancies in the country.
The law established the creation of a National ESI Plan, which was to be responsible for guaranteeing this right. Or to put it another way, to enforce the State's obligation to ensure that comprehensive sexuality education reaches all students, in all schools.
But years passed, little progress was made and the issue was left out of the public agenda, until February 2018 when Macri enabled the debate on the law on legal interruption of pregnancy (ILE) in Congress.
A day in favour of CSE
Then CSE became central again. Suddenly, everyone realized that there was this Plan to which few gave importance. But instead of looking for ways to speed it up, the rift quickly appeared, between the "light blues" (against the ILE) and the "greens" (in favor of the ILE), which moved to the ESI.
The Celestes argued that, in order to reduce unwanted pregnancies, there should be more sex education in schools. The Greens accused them of having been the ones who put the brakes on the CSE not being complied with.
Schools in La Plata, with graffiti against the ESI.
And the rift escalated further. It was when many celestials, based on incredible and inappropriate classes on CSE by some teachers that went viral, came out to denounce that the official contents of CSE have "gender ideology". And they took the word "ideal" from the law to relativize the obligation.
It is because of the article of the CSE law that says "each educational community shall include (...) the adaptation of the proposals to its socio-cultural reality, within the framework of respect for its institutional ideology and the convictions of its members".
Demonstration in Cordoba, against the ESI.
Driven by the Greens, Congress moved forward at the end of 2018 with a project to strengthen the obligatory nature that found in Milei's new Secretary of Education, Carlos Torrendell, one of the opposition voices.
Torrendell's argument, then, was that it is not necessary to change the law because if the ESI fails, it is not because of the text of the law but because of its poor implementation. And that the intention of the change was to impose "a hegemonic ideological perspective" that was expressed in the inclusion of the concepts "gender" and "secular" in one of its articles.
Horacio Torrendell, Milei's new Secretary of Education.
In the end, the bill did not advance and lost parliamentary status.
Seventeen years after the start of the ESI, the balance shows that Argentines have once again shown that we are much more adept at getting entangled in fights and divisions in society than at producing good results.