Sex Education in Primary School in China
In light of this situation and the risks adolescents face in terms of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unintended pregnancies, abortions and sexual and gender-based violence, education about sexuality is of utmost importance.
The impact of the rise in abstinence-only education remains a question. To date, no published studies of abstinence-only programs have found consistent and significant program effects on delaying the onset of intercourse. In 2007, a study ordered by the U.S. Congress found that middle school students who took part in abstinence-only sex education programs were just as likely to have sex (and use contraception) in their teenage years as those who did not. Abstinence-only advocates claimed that the study was flawed because it was too narrow and began when abstinence-only curricula were in their infancy, and that other studies have demonstrated positive effects.
The fact that some parents lack time, in addition to accurate information, to engage their children on sex due to busy schedules is reasonable enough to allow sex education to be taught in schools. When children do not receive the right information about sex from either parents or in schools, they definitely get information from their peers and the media. This information is usually misleading and it ends up exposing children to risky sexual behaviors. In addition to being misleading, such information is not discriminative of the age of the child since it is usually not age-censored.
With the number of abortions and contractions of sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) rising at an alarming rate, something clearly needs to change. Sex education is not compulsory in China which leads to great gaps in children’s knowledge as they enter adulthood. Allegedly, a Chinese couple laid next to each other in bed for three years trying to get pregnant. Many Chinese universities have installed vending machines selling home testing kits for HIV to students. Additionally, some schools have been battling the taboo by using sex education textbooks. While designed to tackle the problem, the books sparked uproar from parents and were quickly removed from schools.
Frean, A. (2008). ‘Pupils as young as 5 to be given sex education.’ The Times, October 24, 2008. Retrieved from https://www.thetimes.co.uk/
Kohler, P. K., Manhart L. E. and Lefferty W. E. (2008). Abstinence-only and comprehensive sex education and the initiation of sexual activity and teen pregnancy. Journal of Adolescents Health, 42: 344-351
Somers, C. L. and Surmann A. T. (2004). Adolescents’ preferences for source of sex education. Child Study Journal, 34(1): 47-59