Thursday, June 19, 2014

Why Chinese class rooms avoid sex education – Zhang Lijia

Zhang Lijia
+Lijia Zhang 
Today sex education is firmly on the curriculum of school, unlike when author Zhang Lijia grew up. Important, because with knowledge the kids become vulnerable in society. But it does not mean sex education is wholeheartedly embraced, fears Zhang Lijia in CNN.

CNN:
When Lijia Zhang was 10-years old, her mother told her babies are born from armpits. 
"I thought that's strange, because there's no hole there," Zhang recalls, adding that she "had absolutely nothing" in terms of sex ed when she was growing up in Nanjing in the 1970s, beyond what her mother told her. Now a journalist writing for English-language publications, Zhang publicly revealed her own experience of molestation by a schoolteacher in a recent opinion piece on the severity of child sex abuse in China. 
Zhang is part of a growing number of voices calling for better sex education to combat child sex abuse, rising rates of sexually transmitted diseases, and unwanted pregnancies. Parents spur this on, pressuring their children to concentrate on academics above all else. Zhang adds that Confucian thought doesn't encourage open discussion of sex. As a popular saying goes: "Lust is the worst of all wicked things; Filial piety is the best of all good things." 
Educators have also largely ignored what calls the government has made to improve sex education. In part, teachers are too embarrassed to cover the subject, but primarily they concentrate on meeting their own academic targets. Sex is not a subject tested in the all-important university entrance exam and teachers have little incentive to emphasize the subject. 
"At school the focus is to get students to score high in exams in order to get them into good universities. Sex education is not considered important," Zhang explains. 
Parents spur this on, pressuring their children to concentrate on academics above all else. Zhang adds that Confucian thought doesn't encourage open discussion of sex. As a popular saying goes: "Lust is the worst of all wicked things; Filial piety is the best of all good things."
More at CNN.

Zhang Lijia is currently writing a book on prostitution in China, expected to be published later this year.

Zhang Lijia is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need her at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speaker´ request form.

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