Experts call for earlier sex education classes in schools
VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnamese students begin to have lessons about sex education and sexual abuse in the fifth grade, but many teachers think this is too late.


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Students begin receiving sex education in the fifth grade




The first lesson has the title ‘Nam hay nu’ (male or female). The next lessons provide knowledge about body structure, adolescence and prevention of sexual abuse.

The lesson about sexual abuse shows a number of situations which may lead to danger, such as students taking a shortcut home, going home late or sharing bicycles with others.

Students are advised not to be alone in dark and deserted areas, not to stay in private rooms with strangers or receive money and help from strangers without reasons, and not to ask strangers for a lift or let strangers enter the home.

Thuy Tran, a teacher at the Cam Giang district’s Primary School, said the first lesson about sex education in the fifth grade comes too late. The lessons on this topic are cursory, which just ‘take a scamper through Dickens’, she said.

Primary school students today are more curious and eager for information than their parents and grandparents. The knowledge in textbooks hasn’t caught up with children’s thinking.

Primary school students today are more curious and eager for information than their parents and grandparents. The knowledge in textbooks hasn’t caught up with children’s thinking.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Hoa, former chair of the Vietnam Women’s Union, agreeing that it is necessary to begin sex education earlier, said many children suffered from sexual abuse when they were infants. 

Relating a story of a 17-month-old girl being sexually abused in Bac Giang province, Hoa said that sex education and sexual abuse prevention measures should begin at preschool.

A report from MOLISA (Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs) showed that in 2011-2015, about 5,300 child sexual abuse cases took place.


However, experts said that this is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and the real figure could be much higher, because children and parents tend to hide their problems rather than seek support or advice from teachers or relatives. They fear that personal secrets will not be legally protected.

Tran Thanh Nam, a respected ted psychology expert, commented that in many cases, victims remain silent about their problems because they don’t know where to seek help.

On December 15, the Phu Tho provincial police arrested Dinh Bang My, principal of the Thanh Son District Ethnic Minority Boarding School, who was accused of sexual abuse of male students aged below 16.

On December 21, the Gia Lai provincial Police arrested Ho Trong Dang, a teacher of Phan Boi Chau Secondary School, on suspected child rape.


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Mai Chi

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