SHENZHEN, March 28 (Xinhua) -- China's largest non-government organization
(NGO) on reproductive health announced on Tuesday that it will popularize a new
method to educate youngsters about sex and reproductive health nationwide,
following international practices.
China now has more than 300 million youngsters who have reached puberty, and
about 20 million become sexually mature each year.
Xi Xiaoping, Vice President with the China Family Planning Association,
said: "Puberty and child-bearing age have arrived earlier in recent years but
sex education is lagging behind."
Education on sex and reproductive health in China was virtually "non-existent"
for many years as traditionally there were cultural
taboos and people rarely discussed sex publicly -- it was even regarded
as a sin.
A survey conducted by the association shows that premarital sex, premarital
pregnancy, induced abortion, and people who have contracted venereal diseases
and HIV/AIDS, are all on the rise in China.
"Chinese youth are usually baffled by all the unspoken mysteries of
puberty, sex and reproductive health," the association's Pan Guiyu said. "Some
are even threatened by venereal disease, HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse, and unsafe
The Association and PATH, a U.S.-based non-profit organization, have just
concluded a five-year sex education pilot program in 12 municipalities and two
villages in China.
The program, which was aimed at youngsters aged between 10 and 24, has
adopted the established way of sex education in western countries.
The association is currently promoting the "successful experiences" to
China's 30 provinces, municipalities and regions, according to Pan, adding that
245 cities and counties in the country have, so far, adopted the new method.
Janet G. Vail, Representative of PATH in Beijing, said: "Unlike traditional school-based
sex education in China, the life-planning skills model introduced
participatory training methods that allow both students and teachers to be
actively engaged in activities, such as role-play, games, dramas and
"The methods build up skills to address risky behaviors," she noted.
Altogether 5.85 million boys and girls have taken part in the program,
including students in senior grades of primary schools, middle school,
vocational high school, schools for deaf children, colleges and universities, as
well as youngsters in large and medium-sized enterprises, the service industry,
the army and prisons.
Sex education in China tends to simply focus on youth in school, ignoring
people outside the circle. Most teachers and parents believe the childrens'
knowledge on sex will increase automatically with age.
Therefore the program will also target parents and teachers by offering
training courses in local communities. In total, 565,828 mothers and fathers
have taken up the lessons.
The association will put more emphasis on popularizing such education
practices in China's vast countryside, on the migrant population, and youth in
the country's central and western areas, according to Li Yanqiu, the
association's secretary-general. Enditem