Monday 2 November 2009

Professor criticises government's sex-ed programme

A leading economist has criticised the British government's sex education programme. Dr David Paton, professor of industrial economics at Nottingham University Business School, yesterday took part in a debate in London organised by the Institute of Ideas. SPUC's Sam Forsdike was there and his report is on the web here.

Dr Paton told the meeting that, over the past 10 years, the government had spent £250 million on developing a programme to provide information on sex, including contraception and abortion, and to link schools to sexual advice clinics. While the rate of pregnancies in under-18s had fallen, pregnancies among under-16s, sexually transmitted diseases and teenage abortion rates had increased. There was no evidence that the investment of so much money to drive down teenage pregnancies was achieving its aim. Easier access to birth control, including the morning-after pill, had not helped reduce teenage pregnancies and may have encouraged children to have sex at a younger age. In the Netherlands, sex education started later than in the UK, they had no statutory curriculum, and that country had lowered its rate of teenage pregnancy.

He said parental involvement in sex education made it more effective. Sex education professionals thought there was nothing wrong with sex as long as the person felt ready for it and used a condom. They failed to talk about abstinence. Dr Paton said parents should be able to withdraw their children from classes that they thought inappropriate.

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