Shanghai sex-ed camp for kids a flop
Thu, Aug 13, 2009

SHANGHAI (AFP) - SHANGHAI'S first sex-education camp for children aged eight to 13 began this week, but only six boys enrolled and the girls' section was cancelled, state media reported on Thursday.

The privately-run three-day 2,880-yuan (S$604) camp opened Wednesday to coincide with the start of school summer holidays and emulates a similar programme that is popular in eastern Nanjing, the Shanghai Daily reported.

'We are going to have a really private talk which cannot be shared with girls or strangers,' the newspaper quoted Gao Weiwei, a young teacher as telling the six boys aged between nine and 13 in her opening remarks.

Chinese health and education experts have warned the country has to shift its sex education strategy from focusing on teaching married couples birth control.

They argue that the unmarried young also need to be targeted because parents are too reluctant to teach their children about sex.

With more than 13 million abortions at registered clinics every year, China needs to step up sex education to better inform youth on contraception, state media reported last month.

A recent survey at a Shanghai hospital found that less than 30 percent of callers to a health hotline knew how to avoid pregnancy, while only 17 per cent were aware of venereal disease, state media reported in July.

But the Shanghai summer camp aims to answer the basic question: 'Where Did I Come From?', the report said 'It's an information-explosion age and there is much misleading information on the Internet,' said Tina Miao, whose 10-year-old son is enrolled in the camp.

'It's better for kids to be instructed by professionals,' said Ms Miao, a lawyer who plans to soon send her son to a British school and is concerned students there are more mature than Chinese students.

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