Students in hot pursuit of sex education

08:10, September 15, 2010      

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Don't be surprised if you see live demonstrations on how to use condoms at Chinese schools. As students become increasingly open to sex education, such courses are proving to be a hit in many parts of China.

Students at Nanjing Normal University (NNU) virtually had to "fight for" access to extracurricular courses on sexual health when the new semester began earlier this month, after demand for the class exceeded to sex and some of them even passed on their newly acquired knowledgeexpectation.

Those who attended enjoyed learning about and discussing topics related to their friends and classmates, according to media reports.

At Nanjing University of Finance and Economics, the students were amused by the demonstration on how to put on a condom, in which a banana was used as a prop. They also took part in courtship rituals and were taught how to start a healthy relationship without engaging in unsafe sex.

"We received practical information, such as reproductive health and the prevention of HIV/AIDS, which is necessary for single young people nowadays," the Yangtze Evening News quoted a NNU coed as having said.

In Shanghai, even younger children have been targeted. In August last year, a sex education camp for those aged between 8 and 13 tried to answer questions such as "Where do I come from?" for its curious participants.

Although the program received a cold reception in the city, where members of only 18 families applied to attend, it led to lively public debate and raised awareness of sex education among many Chinese parents.

Chinese health and education experts have been calling for a shift in the focus of sex education from married couples to single youths, most of whom suffer from a lack of knowledge because Chinese parents are too reluctant, or embarrassed, to teach their children about sex.

According to a nationwide survey released in May, 60 percent of the 22,288 single young people polled on the mainland, aged between 15 and 24, are open to premarital sex and 22.4 percent of the respondents admitted to having taken part in sexual intercourse.

In contrast to their tolerant attitudes, only 4.4 percent of the respondents had correct knowledge about sexual health, while 14.4 percent were aware of HIV transmission and prevention.

The lack of knowledge has led to unsafe sexual practices, accidental pregnancies, HIV infections and other sexually transmitted diseases across the country, the survey found.

More than half admitted not having used contraceptives during their first sexual encounter and, among females, 21.3 percent accidentally became pregnant, of whom 91 percent resorted to having an abortion.

Source:China Daily


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