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Business model feed the need

By YANG WANLI | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-04-21 17:03

As awareness of the importance of sex education grows, schools are inviting professionals to give lectures to the students.

In September, Xincheng Primary School in Shanghai opened its first sex education course for 9-year-old students in grade four, with the support of Shan Jie Tong Zhen — which started as a private sex education research group, but is now a registered company — offering sex education lectures to parents and students at all levels, from kindergarten to college.

Parents are actively encouraged to attend, and feedback is welcomed, according to Gong Yan, the school president. The course has also been available to grade two students since March, the start of the summer semester.

Headed by Hu Ping, a well-known expert in sex education, Shan Jie Tong Zhen employs more than 50 lecturers who have provided course in 77 cities nationwide.

Having spent the last year as a lecturer in the organization's Beijing, Yin Yixiu said more parents are becoming more aware of the need to provide children with sex education, and they are willing to pay for the extra courses.

In the past year, Yin has delivered 28 lectures in Beijing and neighboring cities, about 70 percent of the classes were at the invitation parents groups. Many schools are now offering courses, mainly funded by parents at a cost of about 1,000 yuan ($115) for a 45-minute lecture, but the lack of qualified lecturers has resulted in a number of public schools inviting Yin to address their students.

Last year, Yin approached the education authorities in Beijing and offered to teach the course at a wider range of schools as a regular additional lecture, but her offer was declined.

"The benefits of sex education are not like test scores or other skills that can be visualized or quantified. On the contrary, the education department is wary of being blamed if the course prompts criticism from parents," she said.

Yin received her training in Taiwan, where the courses do not just focus on providing knowledge, but also pay attention to the expression of emotions and greater communication about children's feelings and their attitudes toward sex. She believes the Taiwan model offers a template from which other authorities can learn.

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