Sex education begins to stir in Chinese elementary schools

Appreciating the feel of weight shift during pregnancy
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

China has long been considered a conservative country where talking about sex is taboo, especially to children.

But things have started to change — slowly.

A report in a local Beijing newspaper about a new sex education textbook for elementary school students — some as young as six-years old — has triggered a heated debate in cyberspace and beyond. The Beijing Times, a popular local tabloid, reported that the textbook, “The Steps of Growth”, explains the concept of sexual intercourse with images and illustrations that some people consider too explicit and graphic…

Some experts in the field even weighed in on the debate. “The content of this text book is not consistent with the children’s cognitive capability of this age,” said Hu Ping, a sex education expert who owns a studio in Shenzhen, southern China, where she gives classes to young students about sex and health…

In contrast, some parents are comfortable with the textbook. “It’s better to teach it to the children earlier than later. The kids nowadays know everything anyway,” said Li Yan, a father with a seven-year-old son.

Education authorities in China’s capital deny the book is a formal textbook to be taught in all the local elementary schools. They say it is only an experiment in some schools.

Nevertheless, in a faxed statement to CNN, they said, “it’s very important to carry out health education, including sex education, to elementary and middle school students.”

RTFA. Looks like the program – as it is implemented – will be more inclusive and broad-based than in parts of the world where religious fears are included in on decisions like this. Maybe not. Maybe the conservative traditions leftover from the Confucianist past will get in the way as thoroughly as might some fundamentalist church.

It still makes me chuckle at how parts of the world dig in their heels and reject knowledge for ideological reasons. My family introduced a book called “The Stork Didn’t Bring You” into my elementary school about a jillion years ago. They went the route of the PTA; but, in fact, there were progressive teachers in our hard-as-nails factory town who were ready and able to ease the door open to sex education.

Except for some raving and ranting at the big Roman Catholic church a mile down the road – it was easy as pie.

One thought on “Sex education begins to stir in Chinese elementary schools

  1. Gweilo says:

    “China has introduced a series of progressive sexual education textbooks that are shocking some Chinese parents. The textbooks, which are for primary or elementary school students, teach children a variety of values, such as gender equality in the workplace, acceptance of homosexuality, the importance of reporting sexual abuse and other basic knowledge about the birds and the bees.”

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