Sex education failing young people: survey (2)

08:37, May 05, 2010      

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"The sex education class was canceled in high school and at college," Zhao said, adding that at least three girls in his college had unplanned pregnancies this year, as far as he knew.

According to the survey, books and magazines, classmates and friends, school teachers, networking and film and TV were the five important sources of reproductive health knowledge, and the low awareness rate of young people's knowledge of sex and repro-ductive health might be a consequence of the inconsistent information in these informal channels.

Qi Suyuan, a doctor at Bayannaoer High School in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, said that she receives at least one report of accidental pregnancy every year from her school, and she believes that the actual number of such cases is even higher.

"More emphasis should be put on sex education in high schools but the Chinese tradi-tion to avoid talking about sex in public is still one of the biggest obstacles to pro-mote sex education in school," Qi sadi.

"I offer sex education for more than 3,000 students in school that is tailored for boys and girls separately, but each student could only get very limited information from one class," Qi conceded.

Chen Gong, a professor specializing in population and health at Peking University, who participated in the survey, said Tuesday that cross-discipline research and cooperation between multiple government departments is essential to providing better counseling services for young people.

"We need to respect teenagers first, understand what they are thinking and find out what is the best way to inform them," Chen said.

"To provide better counseling services for young people is a tough task for all countries in the world and I suggest the government set up a specialized department to deal with youth-related issues," Chen added.
The Ministry of Education issued new guidelines in 2008 that said primary and jun-ior-high schools across China should teach pupils about the human body, including secondary sexual characteristics.

Li, however, noted that due to long-time negligence in sex education, the courses are badly designed and totally incomplete, and only cover the biological aspect.

"One of the biggest problems is lack of human resources," he argued. "A practical solu-tion is to set up sex education majors in universities."

The APECY has set up a sex education base in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, to facilitate teacher training.

The model is quite successful and the project is transplanting it to other cities nationwide, he explained.
For the past 10 years, condoms have been available in universities but only in un-noticed corners of the campus such as the dark stairs of the university hospitals.
Zuo Xuan contributed to this story.

Source: Global Times
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