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January 20, 2014

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Home » Metro » Education

Sex education must improve to address local student pregnancies

Sex education needs to be improved because a lack of guidance has led to a rising number of unplanned pregnancies among Shanghai schoolgirls and students, a local political adviser said yesterday.

Five percent of junior middle school pupils — who are aged between 11 and 15 years old — have had sex, Wu Junqing, an official with the Shanghai Family Planning Scientific Research Institute, told the Second Plenary Session of the 12th Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

And among senior high school students, who are aged between 15 and 19, the number is 10 to 15 percent, said Wu.

The figure is 20 to 25 percent for university students, and the rate of unplanned pregnancies very high, she added. One 23-year-old woman had undergone 23 abortions, said Wu.

“The number of local students having sex and the number of unplanned pregnancies are rising,” she said.

Wu said her claims were based on surveys and conversations with teachers, parents, hospitals and youngsters, though she did not give numbers.

Skip key chapters

Wu said many students had told her they wanted better sex education classes.

“Parents don’t support the idea as they believe that studying is the most important thing and that sex education will distract students. And teachers often skip key chapters of sex education and ask students to learn these parts themselves,” she claimed.

In China, the traditional way of teaching sex education only discusses the physical features of women and men, Wu said.

Some students turn to the Internet — including pornography — for more information, as this is not provided at school, she added.

Wu said she suggested specific sex education classes to an education official, but was told that schools have no motivation to offer these.

And a kindergarten teacher told Wu that if parents learnt that their children had been comparing their private parts it was common for the adults  to hit them.

Sex education should lie in guidance, and beatings would affect a child’s attitude to sex in later years, Wu said.

Wu suggested regular lectures and sex education courses at schools every semester, and free booklets for students to help tackle ignorance about the subject.

Sex education classes should also be conducted at residential communities, while the government should provide policy and financial support for initiatives, Wu said in her proposal. 



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