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Global Monitor


More Sex Ed or Abstinence Promotion for British Schoolchildren

A recent report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), Britain’s leading progressive think tank, says that schoolchildren in England as young as 10 years of age should be instructed in use of contraceptives. Why? Because, the report says, Britain’s teenagers are reported to be the most sexually active in Europe.

As Britain’s youngsters are the third least likely in Europe to use protection during underage sex, the report also claims that children should learn about contraception at 10 or 11 years of age and have greater availability to free or low-cost condoms in schools and colleges.

The IPPR maintains that sex ed lessons should become mandatory in all primary and secondary schools in England and Wales; at present sex ed courses are recommended, but not mandatory, at such a young age, although sex education is taught to 11–14 year-olds as part of their science courses.

IPPR senior research fellow Julia Margo said: “Over the last 50 years, the average age of first sexual intercourse has fallen from 20 for men and 21 for women in the 1950s to 16 by the mid-1990s.

“The proportion of young people who are sexually active before the age of con sent has risen from less than 1% to 25% over the same period.

“Our education system must respond in kind and start teaching children about the risks involved in sex before they even consider taking those risks.” Not everyone believes the suggestion to be correct, including British government officials. Critics have called the proposal “inappropriate,” saying they believe that less sex education in schools is needed rather than more.

Philip Davies, the Member of Parliament for Shipley, Yorkshire, does not believe more sex ed is needed; “We have got far too much sex education in our Schools. The more sex education we have the more teenage pregnancies we seem to have and more abortion s.

“I want pressure to see less rather than more sex education.

“It seems totally inappropriate for 10-year-olds and sends out the wrong message. It sends out the message that it is OK to have sex as long as you use a contraceptive.”

The Department For Education waffles: “We are taking steps to improve the support we give to parents to talk about sex and relationships, and we have made clear that local authorities and primary care trusts must make sure that they are providing young people with access to advice and contraception.”

The government acknowledges there is major problem in the country concerning teenage pregnancy and hopes to halve the teenage pregnancy rate by 2010. The governments have spent about 138 million pounds since 2002 in an attempt to reduce the teenage pregnancy rates. Britain has the highest rate of births to teenagers in Western Europe, with an average of 26 births per 1,000 girls aged 15 to 19. The number of pregnant girls under the age of 18, according to government statistics, rose almost 12% in ten years, to 39,545, in 2004.

In a new common-sense campaign called Leave It Till Later, the government has begun to tell teenagers under 16 the virtues of restraint and to abstain from having sex, instead of just pushing contraceptives and abortifacients on the group.

This is a welcome change for opponents of the “safe sex” propaganda the young have been influenced by in the past.

Hugh McKinney of National Family Concern commented: “This is a startling U-turn by the present government, which appears to finally be listening to what experts have been saying for years — that there is a better way than educating youngsters on how to have sex.

“Most independent experts agree that the present type of teaching simply encourages experimentation which results in higher levels of teenage pregnancy and has led to the soaring levels of sexually transmitted diseases.

“This is a welcome step in the right direction.”

See the Source: Nishika Patel, “Call to give 10-year-olds lessons in birth control,” Yorkshire Post Today, 23 October 2006, http://www.yorshireotday.co.ukViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=55&ArticleID=1836558; “Government tells teens to ‘leave sex till later’,” 15 October 2006, Daily Mail, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=410540&in_page_id=1770

Gray Power in China

As in many other baby-poor countries, gray power has reached China’s economy as 143 million elderly Chinese have increased their economic control and purchasing power, a population official said recently. And consumption by seniors is expected to continue to increase to about 1.4 trillion yuan ($175 billion U.S.), 11.39% of the country’s total, by 2010 and 4.3 trillion yuan, 15.43% of the country’s total, by 2020, said Li Bengong, executive deputy director of the China National Committee on Aging. In 2000, the figure was 9.67%.

Currently about 11% of China’s population is over the age of 60.

“In terms of consumption, the aging population will have a huge influence on China’s future social and economic development,” said Li Bengong.

“We need to boost the development of industries that serve the aging population, such as pharmacy, health care, insurance and tourism,” he added.

Population experts have predicted that China will remain an aging society throughout this century. China’s baby boomers, those born in the 1950s to 1960s, will become senior citizens in the next 15 years, accelerating China’s aging process.

See the Source: “Aging China sees growing consumption by elderly population,” People’s Daily Online, 24 October 2006, http://English.people.com.cn/200610/24/eng20061024_314464.html

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