Sex Education Lags Behind in Chinese Schools

Material covered in sex education classes in Chinese high schools lags far behind the actual sexual awareness of young people.

The paper cited statistics from the Beijing Maternity Hospital, saying that half of the women seeking abortions there were unmarried and 14 percent were under age 20. The information was collected by Dr. Suo You with the Beijing Institute for the Protection of Mother's and Children's Health.

The data revealed that many teenagers wanting abortions are far advanced in their pregnancies before they turn up at the hospital.

Dr. Suo said that the young people who are sexually active are most often not well-informed about contraception.

Some of the pregnant teens mistook fetal movement for intestinal problems, Dr. Suo found.

In a national survey conducted by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, 3,000 teenagers in major Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Wuhan were asked pointed questions about sex.

Ironically, eight out of ten teenagers said they didn't know much about it. China has no official curriculum for sex education, and though health textbooks contain chapters on the reproductive system, embarrassed teachers simply ignore the subject, the survey showed.

"I'm always wondering about my body. But why does nobody speak to me frankly about it?" the paper quoted a high school student as asking.

Education expert Min Lefu said that society, families and schools all bear the responsibility of telling kids the truth about sex.

A typical answer by Chinese parents to the where-did-I-come- from question is "We found you on the road." Some parents worry why their children are asking questions about sex to begin with, thinking they must be under a bad influence.

Young people's general ignorance of the facts of life has aroused concern in China. Recently the Beijing Museum of Natural History held an exhibition on adolescence and puberty, and high schools and primary schools in the capital took student groups to the show. Museum records show the facility received up to 7,000 visitors daily.

Sources with the museum said that provinces of Shandong, Hebei, Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangsu, Yunnan and Harbin have invited the exhibition to tour.

"If we still refuse to explain the scientific facts of sex, kids will easily be misled by some unreliable sources in the media, " the paper quoted a woman who took her child to the exhibition as saying.

The national survey found that other than textbooks with inadequate information on sex, youngsters get their answers from movies and the Internet.

A father who declined to give his name said, "We might save a lot of energy if we could talk about sex as a natural part of our bodies, like our eyes and our hearts."

(China Daily)

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