Educators debate on when sex education should start
VietNamNet Bridge - Some psychologists believe that sex education must start when children are three years old, but some teachers believe that this is not suitable for an Asian country like Vietnam.

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The students’ knowledge on the issue is at ‘zero’: Dr Vu Thu Huong

Vu Thu Huong, an education expert from the Hanoi University of Education, talking about sex education at school, commented that the students’ knowledge on the issue is at ‘zero’.

The problem is, according to Huong, while students reach the age of puberty and are curious about sex relatively early, they only receive the first lesson on the issue when they enter the fifth grade.

“It is too late,” Huong said. “Meanwhile, lessons in textbooks don’t provide sufficient knowledge.”

This partially explains the high number of 300,000 abortion cases for minors every year.

Huong has suggested starting sex education for children when they are three years old. At first, parents should talk to their children about the ‘underwear rule’. Children need to understand that the parts of their body covered by underwear are private and no one should ask to see or touch their private parts or ask them to look at or touch anyone else's.

When children become first graders, they should know how babies are created. When they turn to second and third graders, they need to learn about puberty, periods and the problems they may meet in puberty. 

Some psychologists believe that sex education must start when children are three years old, but some teachers believe that this is not suitable for an Asian country like Vietnam.
Fourth and fifth graders can watch clips about sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy prevention. They should also be warned about the consequences brought by early sexual relations.

Huong, who insists on the necessity of starting sex education lessons soon, affirmed that the lessons would not frighten children as their parents think.

Huong once showed a clip about abortion to 50 fifth graders during a lesson. “They did not get shocked as people might imagine. This means that children at the age have awareness of the issue and the awareness would help them protect themselves and their friends."

The psychologist commented that the biggest barrier for early sex education is Vietnamese parents’ lack of awareness of the importance of sex education.

A primary school teacher in Hanoi warned that Huong’s idea of early sex education would face strong opposition from Vietnamese parents.

She said in 2014, when a parent discovered that her child, a fifth grader, had lessons about how to take care of pregnant women, she showed strong protest against this. The author of the textbook which showed the lesson had to come forward and give explanations in the mass media.

Huong admitted that if the sex education program Huong and her co-workers are implementing at some centers is applied on a large scale, it may face strong opposition from parents.


VNE

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