Lessons for sex education to be included in new textbooks

VietNamNet Bridge - The news that a seventh grader and her parents only knew about her pregnancy on the day she gave birth has rung the alarm bell over Vietnamese students’ lack of sex education.


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General school students approach sex education for the first time when they have science in the fifth grade. Later, in the eighth grade, in biology lessons, they learn about the human body. 

However, scientists pointed out that children now tend to  the puberty coming sooner, at the ages of 11-14. 

Fifth graders, in Science class, have one lesson named ‘Man & Woman’ (2 periods, each period lasting 45 minutes), where they are given basic knowledge to tell the difference between the two genders. However, some parents said it was too late if the lesson is given only to fifth graders.

“The knowledge on how to differentiate boys and girls should be provided to 3-year old children at kindergartens,” Hoa An, a parent in Dong Da district in Hanoi, said.

The news that a seventh grader and her parents only knew about her pregnancy on the day she gave birth has rung the alarm bell over Vietnamese students’ lack of sex education.

An wants the knowledge to be provided to children sooner. “Now the kids’ puberty comes sooner, while there are many risks of getting abused,” she explained.

According to Thuy Linh, a biology teacher at a secondary school in Hanoi, the knowledge about male-female genital tracts, reproductive organs and conception is only provided when students are in eighth grade. 

“It is too late,” Linh said, adding that fifth and sixth grades need to be taught to prepare for their puberty period.

“We only have some periods to give important lessons,” Linh said, emphasizing that the lessons must be considered as important as math or literature lessons.

Many child abuse cases have been reported recently, which has stirred up the public and worried parents. 

A seventh grader did not know she was pregnant until the day she gave birth. It was clear that the schoolgirl did not have knowledge about how to prevent pregnancy and contraceptive measures.

Meanwhile, educators are still arguing about when to begin to give students such classes

Do Ngoc, a biology teacher in Hoai Duc district in Hanoi, said five years ago, sex education was a ‘sensitive issue’ that both teachers and students tried to avoid to talk about.

However, students now are bolder and take more initiative in learning about gender. “They now can look for information on the internet,” she said.

Vu Thu Huong from Hanoi University of Education believes that children should be taught ways to prevent abuse when they turn three years old.


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Chi Mai

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