Sex Education in Primary School in China
In the U.S., teenage birth rates had been dropping since 1991, but a 2007 report showed a 3% increase from 2005 to 2006. From 1991 to 2005, the percentage of teens reporting that they had ever had sex or were currently sexually active showed small declines. However, the U.S. still has the highest teen birth rate and one of the highest rates of STIs among teens in the industrialized world. Public opinion polls conducted over the years have found that the vast majority of Americans favor broader sex education programs over those that teach only abstinence, although abstinence educators recently published poll data with the opposite conclusion. On the other hand, proponents of abstinence-only sex education object to curricula that fail to teach their standard of moral behavior; they maintain that a morality based on sex only within the bounds of marriage is “healthy and constructive” and that value-free knowledge of the body may lead to immoral, unhealthy, and harmful practices. Within the last decade, the federal government has encouraged abstinence-only education by steering over a billion dollars to such programs. Some 25 states now decline the funding so that they can continue to teach comprehensive sex education. Funding for one of the federal government’s two main abstinency-only funding programs, Title V, was extended only until December 31, 2007; Congress is debating whether to continue it past that date. 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.
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.
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