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Sex-education Camp Fails to Spark Kids' Interest

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Shanghai opened its first sex-education camp for children between the ages of eight and 13 on Wednesday. Unfortunately the response was poor, with just six boy students and the girls' camp deferred.

The three-day camps have proved popular in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, but have received a decided cold shoulder in Shanghai, according to Thursday's Shanghai Daily.

The opening of the Shanghai camp by Nanjing-based Partner Company was scheduled for the start of the summer vacation.

It had taken all this time to attract the six boys and the girls' class was postponed because there were only five applicants, said the company's marketing director, Yang Peng.

Many parents have balked as the camp costs 2,880 yuan (US$421) for the three days of education.

"We are going to have a really private talk which cannot be shared with girls or strangers," Gao Weiwei, a young teacher and the director of the Shanghai branch of the company, said to the six boys aged between nine and 13 in her opening remarks. But the boys seemed uninterested.

The camp aims to answer the key question from children: "Where Did I Come From?" Many Chinese parents find it difficult to answer.

"It's an information-explosion age and there is much misleading information on the Internet," said Tina Miao, mother of a boy aged 10 in the camp.

"It's better for kids to be instructed by professionals. "Miao, a lawyer, plans to send her son to Britain for schooling soon and is afraid overseas students are more "mature" than Chinese students.

Most families who sent their boys to the Shanghai camp are well off. "It's better for kids to learn sex knowledge naturally rather than being bluntly exposed to the information," said Wu Zunmin, an educational expert of East China Normal University, "I doubt the content of a course copied from other countries."

"It conflicts with Chinese people's cultural traditions," Wu said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 13, 2009)

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