According to Shanghai Daily, a sexual education textbook will be issued to Chinese students in the city following a similar move in Beijing. The textbook, which depicts the sexual organs on illustrated children and images of sexual intercourse between tadpoles, will be issued to first and second grade students.
“Kindergarten children have a vague idea about gender difference,” said Xu Dianfang, an official with the Shanghai Education Commission, in the article. “Local primary schools are required to launch gender education among grade one and grade two students.”
Chinese officials allegedly called for sex education at a very early age because educators in the country reported through studies that many parents did not truthfully answer questions about where babies come from.
Similar movements in the U.S. have been suggested by more liberal-minded educators citing studies such as a 2009 report in the Children and Youth Services Review , which provides evidence of sexual activities among children as young as 8. While most school districts in the country still have control over the method and nature of their sex education programs, with some general mandates in place, organizations such as the Sexuality Information and Education Council have pushed in recent years to add requirements and to ban some forms of sex education altogether (i.e. abstinence-only programs.)
“It is the right moment for our country to pass the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act,” said Monica Rodriguez, president and CEO of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States in a March press release. “The focus of government this year needs to be on increasing the health and well-being of our nation’s young people by smartly investing in health education programs that work and eliminating wasteful programs that don’t serve any purpose but to line the pockets of special interests. Eliminating the failed and ineffective Title V abstinence-only programs so we can concentrate on bringing real, comprehensive sexuality education to young people is a good step in achieving these goals.”
Many conservatives in the country argue that sex education should begin at home and be left out of the hands of schools altogether. In October 2010, Texas Governor and 2012 GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry turned down $4.4 million in Federal funding for pregnancy prevention programs opting to continue the State-funded abstinence program. Time published an article Wednesday calling Perry’s assertion that abstinence works “weird science” and also calling into question the Governor’s stance of an array of health issues from requiring HPV vaccines for school-aged girls to his support of stem cell research.