From the Editor

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February 2000

Sex education in school

Don’t wait ’til it’s too late

In December 1999, the headlines of the local press shocked the parents and teachers in Hong Kong. A survey done by The Hong Kong Playground Association revealed that many teenagers have very open attitude towards sex, and in fact, some of them have already experienced it, the earliest at the age of 10.

People have many different views of the results of the survey. Some said parents should take a more active role in sex education. Some said the media should not produce programs that involve too much sex.

All these suggestions may be workable. However, they are all suggesting that the best sex education is to keep the teenagers away from any exposure to sex.

But forbidding children to talk about sex actually worsens the situation. Teenagers are naturally curious. If sex is considered a top secret for them, they will get more interested in it. Therefore, the ultimate solution is to talk to teenagers about sex openly. This includes introducing formal sex education in schools.

In fact, sex education in schools has never been sufficient in Hong Kong. The word “sex” has remained the forbidden word among students over the years. Although the syllabus in primary and secondary schools does include sex, the topic is usually put in science lessons. This means that only the biological part of sex is covered, while nothing about the morals of sex is taught.

While only occasionally organizing talks or exhibitions to schools, the government has never really realized the need for formal sex education in schools. Although people from the education field have urged the government to do so for years, the government always ignores the suggestion, saying that sex education is the parent’s responsibility.

The reason why the government hesitates to make the decision is clear. Although Hong Kong people are more open than they used to be, sex is still considered a controversial issue. Therefore, if formal lessons on sex are really introduced, the conservatives will say the decision may lower the moral standards of the students, as they think that to teach sex in school means to encourage the teenagers to have sex.

Besides, as a law exists prohibiting sex with persons under 16, the government has enough reasons to say that they have really done something on the problem.

As a result, like treating other controversial issues, the government chooses to stay away from the problem until the situation becomes so bad that there is nothing people can do about it.

But the alarm is ringing, as shown by the figures of the survey. When a 10-year-old child is saying proudly that he has had sex, the government should know that there is a problem of teen sex. If the government still does not have the guts to introduce formal sex education to schools, in a few years’ time it is likely that all the teens in Hong Kong will become little monsters with a promiscuous sex life.


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Jenny Chung
Managing Editor

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