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LCQ7: Sex Education in schools
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    Following is a question by the Hon Mrs Sophie Leung and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (May 17):

Question:

     Regarding sex education in schools, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether the authorities will consider revising or updating the Guidelines on Sex Education in Schools published in 1997, to meet the development needs of young people nowadays;

(b) as the above Guidelines are recommendations for reference only and not compulsory for schools to follow, of the current number of schools which have developed sex education programmes in accordance with the recommendations in the Guidelines; and

(c) whether assessments are conducted regularly on sex education programmes in schools, if so, of the results of the latest assessment?

Reply:

Madam President,

(a) The Guidelines on Sex Education in Schools was compiled by the former Education Department (now the Education and Manpower Bureau) in 1997 to increase schools' awareness of sex education.  As it has been designed mainly for the reference of schools in the implementation of sex education, it should not be regarded as a curriculum guide which is normally drawn up for academic subjects.  With the introduction of curriculum reform in 2001 which placed emphasis on holistic education, cross-curriculum programmes in civic education, moral education, sex education, health education and environmental education have all been integrated into moral and civic education.  Moral and civic education focuses on cultivating students' positive values and attitudes, helping them develop a healthy lifestyle, acquire skills in life to face and deal with daily life and social problems, learn how to face the challenge of growth, and deal with doubts and perplexities about sex, e.g. dating and courtship, gender awareness, and sexual harassment.  Moral and civic education covers most of the essential experiences for the whole-person development of students, and is meant to dovetail with the development needs of young people nowadays.

(b) As the Guidelines on Sex Education in Schools is only for the reference of schools in implementing sex education, it should not be strictly enforced.  In fact, sex education has already been integrated into the curriculum of various subjects such as General Studies, Science, Biology, Social Studies, Ethics and Religious Studies, Home Economics, etc., becoming part of what students should learn.  Moral and civic education can also help foster proper values in students.

To provide support for teachers, we have launched a "Sex Education Website" (http://www/emb.gov.hk/cd/mce/sed) where teaching resources are made available on sex-related issues that are of concern to the community or have aroused interest and doubts among youngsters.  The website is to provide a source of reference for teachers.  Teachers may also design supplementary school-based sex education programmes according to the needs of their students.  In addition, we organise professional development programmes from time to time to help them build up confidence and capability in teaching.

(c) Through school visits and contacts with teachers in professional training activities, we have learnt that schools can make use of different kinds of activities, such as talks, exhibitions, debate competitions, adventure-based training camps, etc. to provide sex education.  We believe that sex education has been generally and properly implemented in schools.

Ends/Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Issued at HKT 14:32

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