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September 1, 2011

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Home » Metro » Education

Textbooks on sex pulled back

THE city's first sex education textbook for pupils in grades one and two was removed from the shelves yesterday, one day after its release, arousing suspicions that it was banned because of public opposition.

The textbook compiler told Shanghai Daily that the printing house released the book early by mistake. Based on their agreement, copies of the book will be on shelves in late September, after the new semester begins.

A poll launched by Shanghai Daily yesterday suggested - contrary to widespread speculation - that a big majority of people hailed the textbook that helps parents answer the critical question: "Where do I come from?"

Some 62 percent of parents strongly welcomed the book and 38 percent supported the trial but said the textbook's contents need to be improved. Few people opposed it.

Parents intending to buy the books yesterday were disappointed to find that they had been pulled off the shelf. A worker at the Shanghai Education Publishing House outlet said the textbooks should be offered first to the students at schools before pubic sales at stores.

The sex education textbooks for pupils in grades three and four have just finished printing, and the textbooks for the pupils in grades five and six are still in the printing stage. The set of sex education textbooks will be available at bookstores at the same time, according to the book's executive editor, Xu Jing.

The textbook introduces names of private parts and explains fertilization with colorful illustrations to explain the life secrets to children.

However, the new textbook still triggered doubts and worry among locals.

"It's too revealing and has a lack of beauty, which will fail to inspire children's interest," said a newly married woman, Jing Wen. "I think that the book should replace the private parts' pictures with cartoon images, which are easier for children to understand."

However, some education experts had different opinions. Liu Yeping, of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said, "The new sex education textbook has made great improvement compared with the past. But it is still too implicit, compared with German and Japanese sex education textbooks."

"The younger the children are, the easier it will be for teachers to carry out the sex education," she said.

She said that it often was adults, not children, who cannot accept the sex education now.

"In children's view, the private parts are just an ordinary body organ as their hands," she said. "It's the adults who attach special meanings to the private parts."

Xu, the editor, noted that the "textbook has won a national prize."

"It's recognized by the education authorities," he said.


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