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Sex-ed text ready for use in classes
By Tan Yingzi (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-07 00:28

A new textbook, entitled Thoughts of Teenagers, claiming to be the first of its kind in the country to meet teenagers' natural demand for sex-related knowledge, will be introduced soon into primary and junior high schools in this coastal city in East China's Zhejiang Province.

Designed to help teenagers discuss sex in classrooms more openly, the book will go into use in October.

Sex-related education has been taboo in the country for decades.

Xu Xiaohong, director of the Education and Research Department of Ningbo's Haishu District Education Bureau, said the book is a "sex education book meeting demands of students and teachers."

The book, compiled by Xu together with Chen Yao, a student psychology tutor, along with eight other student advisers from Duantang School in Ningbo, is based on research and practice conducted by Xu and teachers in schools including Duantang over the past three years.

This textbook is comprised of two dozen modules in seven parts, focusing on sex psychology, sex physiology, sex health, sex morality as well as marriage and family planning.

Issues such as masturbation, contraception, sex harassment, AIDS and homosexuality, are handled in a scientific way.

Duantang School, a primary and junior high school, once tried sex education lessons.

In October, in some other selected schools in Haishu District, students from the fourth grade to students in junior high schools will use the new textbook in their sex education activities.

Currently in China, there are few such teaching materials available to students and teachers. Existing materials have been assessed as not meeting teenagers' needs since they are not open enough on various topics.

Xu said subjects and topics in this textbook were carefully selected by both adults and teenagers, with the focus on sexual psychology instead of rigid physiological knowledge.

"We try to solve the psychological problems of the students during their puberty rather than only giving them lectures on sexual knowledge," she added.

According to a survey provided by Xu Xiaohong, students learn of sex mainly from the Internet, friends, magazines, books and newspapers, and few gain knowledge from schools or their parents.

"I hope sex education will be talked about openly," said Shen Haojie, a 13-year-old student adviser for the textbook.

The book also recommends some links to related reading materials and encourages students to find more about this issue themselves.

The teachers' book offers at least two teaching methods for each major part and teachers can choose one of them according to their real-life situation.

Existing sex education books do not tell teachers how to conduct lessons on these topics in classes. "Sex education is also a new thing to teachers, and they also need a guide,'' she said.

The book has two versions, one for students and the other for teachers. In the student book, each module talks about one subject, presenting stories and examples with illustrations, advice from experts and scientific explanations to problems.

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