• Aside from Peking University, there are only about 30 Chinese colleges that offer sex education.

Aside from Peking University, there are only about 30 Chinese colleges that offer sex education. (Photo : www.chinahush.com)

Sex education courses should be made mandatory for Chinese university students, similar to English or Political Science subjects, Chinese scholar Lin Yinhe said in an interview with China Youth Daily.

According to Lin, the present crops of university students and graduates have missed out taking courses on sex education compared to students in primary and middle schools who have started their sex education lessons.

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Lin warned that university students should study or take sex education now before it would be too late. She said that students in the universities have a strong interest to gain knowledge about sex since many of them have become adults and are developing both sexual physiology and psychology.

The China Youth Daily said that the increasing number of cases involving unwanted pregnancies, pregnancy out of wedlock, and abortions in the country may be attributed to the lack of knowledge on sex and contraceptive tools.

The report said that young people sometimes rely on online sources to get their knowledge related to sex, which can result in mixed information and often falls short of the standard sex education.

"There should be standard schools, standard textbooks and standard, well-trained teachers to conduct sex education. Only then can students acquire the correct, instead of wrong and unscientific knowledge about sex," Lin was quoted as saying.

At present, Chinese universities have lamented the need for the standard teaching materials on sex education and they often find it difficult to compile the required resources.

A textbook earlier compiled by a team from Beijing Normal University has stirred controversy, caused by graphic cartoon illustrations which some opponents regarded as obscene.

In terms of public support, sex education is regarded as a delicate issue, said Li. As an example, she cited the suspension of sex education courses for teachers in Shandong Province due to opposition.

Li, however, remained optimistic that sex education will soon be popularized and accepted nationwide.