Korean sex education gets a bad rep on my blog, and deservedly so. But there are many professional and committed sex educators out there (I’ve met some!), and the quality and quantity of programs can vary quite dramatically between different schools and regions.
This latest initiative, to bring sex education to isolated communities, sounds like one of the better ones.
Unfortunately, this poorly-written report doesn’t really do it justice, with many frustratingly vague terms. Please take this into account when you read things like how the education provided teaches “the dignity of life” for instance, which I hope doesn’t mean that Korean children are learning that abortion is evil (although it was made illegal 4 years ago, so I have some genuine concerns). Also, the report claims that the bus is aimed at “island” communities, but the literal center of the country doesn’t seem a very good place to start visiting those, so I’m guessing that “isolated” communities was meant instead.
(Thanks in advance for any corrections or better translations from readers)
Wriggle: Korea’s First Sex Education Bus
10 April 2014, by 신국진/Shin Gook-jin, JB News
“성은 숨기는 것이 아니라 책임이 필요한 것으로 아동•청소년 연령에 맞게 맞춤 교육을 하겠습니다.”
“Sex is not something that should be hidden, but it does require responsibility. So, we will provide an age-appropriate sex education to children and teenagers.”
충북도내 도서 지역 아동•청소년의 건전한 성 가치관을 심어주기 위해 지난 8일 개소한 이동형 성문화센터 체험관 ‘꿈틀’이 10일 첫 운행을 시작했다.
성교육이 가능하도록 버스를 개조한 ‘꿈틀’은 이날 청원군 남일초등학교를 찾아 4~6학년을 대상으로 11일까지 맞춤형 성교육을 실시한다.
김향자 충북도 이동형 청소년성문화센터 팀장은 “지난 8일 개소하고 처음으로 이동형 센터 운행을 시작했다”며 “남일초를 시작으로 올해 도내 전 지역을 돌며 400회 교육을 할 계획”이라고 말했다.
Taking to the road on the 10th in North Chungcheong Province, the “Wriggle” sex education bus will instill a healthy set of sexual values in children and teenagers living in isolated island communities.
Remodeled as a sex education bus, the Wriggle’s first stop is Namil Elementary School, where it will teach 4th-6th graders (11-13 year-olds) age-appropriate sex education until the 11th.
Kim Hyang-ja, team leader of the North Chungcheong Province teenage sex education center, said “This is Korea’s first moving sex-education center. After Nam-il Elementary School, we plan to make 400 trips this year.”
그동안 충북에서는 청주와 충주에 각각 1개소씩 마련된 고정형 청소년성문화센터가 운영됐다. 이렇다보니 지역적 접근성이 떨어지는 도서 지역 아동•청소년은 제대로 된 성교육을 받기가 힘들었다.
충북도는 이를 해소하기 위해 지난해부터 3억여원의 예산을 들여 ‘꿈틀’을 마련하고 운영에 나선 것이다. 꿈틀 체험관에는 다양한 성 콘텐츠가 교육 연령대에 맞춰 교육할 수 있도록 구성된다.
In North Chungcheong Province, there are two teenage sex education centers, in Cheongju and Choongju. But these are difficult for students in islands communities to get to, depriving them of a sex education.
In order to solve this problem, last year 300 million won was budgeted for the Wriggle sex education bus. In it, children can receive information about various sex-related issues and receive age-appropriate sex education.
좁은 공간에는 ‘삐뽀삐뽀’, ‘미디어와 성’, ‘성 상품화’, ‘요람’, 사춘기 용품’, 사랑방정식’, ‘다양한 가족’, ‘우주속의 나’ 등의 프로그램으로 성을 알기 쉽게 표현했다.
심장 소리를 들으며 입장하는 체험관은 난자를 찾아가는 정자의 모습을 보며 교육이 시작된다.
한미화 강사는 “6억분의 1의 경쟁을 뚫고 내가 태어난 것이란 의미를 알려주는 의미”라며 “체험관에는 태아가 형성되는 과정은 물론 산모 배속에 위치한 태아의 태동까지 느낄 수 있는 체험도 가능하다”고 말했다.
In the narrow space, children can easily learn through watching programs like ‘Ambulance Siren’, ‘The Media and Sex’, ‘Sexual Objectification’, ‘Cradle’, ‘Puberty Products’, ‘Love Equation’, ‘Various Family Types’, and “The Universe and Me’.
While listening to the sound of a heartbeat, they can see how sperm find the egg [James: A bit outdated—eggs are quite active in seeking out sperm too!].
Instructor Han Mi-hwa said, “Children can see from how 1 out of 600 million sperm finds the egg, to fetal development, and even feeling what it’s like to have the baby kick.”
아이들은 체험관 안에서 성교육 외에도 다문화 가정, 한부모 가정, 조손가정 등 현재 사회에서 발생할 수 있는 가족 구성단위도 교육 받는다.
또한 학교를 중심으로 형성된 사회 시설에서 아이들에게 안전한 곳과 위험 곳을 보기 쉽게 마련했다.
체험관 속에서 40여분 간 진행되는 교육 외에도 유아에게는 인형극을 통한 재미있는 성교육을 하고 초등학생에게는 성장과정에 따른 몸 변화의 이해와 생명 존엄성에 대한 교육이 진행된다.
In addition to sex education, children can also learn about various family types, such as multicultural families, single-parent families, children living with their grandparents, and so on, all of which are occurring as our society develops.
Children can also learn about places around their schools and neighborhoods which may be unsafe.
In roughly 40 minutes on the bus, preschool children can learn sex education through playing with dolls, and elementary school students can learn about development, the changes to their body, and the dignity of life.
중•고등학생에게는 앞으로 성적 자기결정권, 청소년 성매매 등 현실을 인식하고 성 평등에 대한 교육이 진행된다.
게다가 부모와 교사에 대한 교육도 마련해 아동•청소년 성폭력 예방 및 지도법, 성의식 개선 등의 프로그램을 운영할 계획이다.
김향자 팀장은 “연령에 따라 알아야 되는 성은 모두 다르다”며 “교육 대상이 누구냐에 따라 맞춤 교육이 가능하도록 모든 시설이 완성돼 있다”고 말했다.
From now on, middle and high-school students can learn about their sexual rights, prostitution, and sexual equality. Moreover, there are also plans to provide sexual violence prevention programs, and education to parents and teachers.
Kim Hyong-ja explained, “As what you need to know about sex is different at different ages, so too the education varies”, and that “it is possible to provide appropriate education for all ages.”
한편 꿈틀은 (사)청주여성의전화에서 수탁 운영하며 교육신청은 충북도 이동형 청소년성문화센터(043-223-7953)로 하면 된다.
김향자 팀장은 “꿈틀은 앞으로 학교를 비롯해 지역아동센터, 시설 등 교육이 필요한 장소에는 모두 갈 것”이라며 “최고의 교육 효과를 얻기 위해 모든 강사들이 노력 할 것이다. 교육을 받는 시설에서 적극적인 협조로 아이들에게 성이 무엇인지 제대로 교육이 됐으면 좋겠다”고 당부했다. / 신국진
Wriggle is managed by the Cheongju Women’s Hotline. For inquiries about coming to your area in North Chungcheong Province, please call the teenage sex education center at 043-223-7953.
“In addition to schools, Wriggle is available to come to community children’s facilities and so on where needed. We will strive to provide the best education.” Kim Hyang-ja said, and that “If we positively cooperate to provide education at facilities, we can properly teach children what sex is.”
4 thoughts on “Korean Sex Ed Takes to the Road”
Crumbs…great initiative but yeah, wow. Is it wrong that I can’t stop giggling over naming the bus the “Wriggle” bus?! Also, I challenge them to convey to kids the ‘feeling of a baby kicking’ in the womb. Having a little swimmy creature currently doing that to me, I can quite honestly say is it is the weirdest/coolest but absolutely least conveyable feeling in the world!
Stoked that they are including modules dealing with the media and sexual objectification though. Pertinent inclusions in Korea (and many other places too).
Thanks for your comment, and yeah, my (Korean) wife was a bit stumped by some of the names too, so it wasn’t just because something was lost in translation!
Thanks for sharing this! I’ve taught and researched US-based sex ed for over 20 years and have been interested in figuring out what is and isn’t taught in South Korea (I am ending my stay of two months here in a couple of weeks). If I end up settling here, I would be interested in helping out in some way that relays accurate information in a culturally respectful and appropriate manner.
I think the “Wriggle” bus is a good name for this. It’s cute and perhaps allows for more opportunities in more apprehensive communities. I hope it’s doing good work (you mention some promising topics, but also some potentially not so great ones, IMO) and finds itself in demand.
Thanks for your comment, and sorry for the very late reply. If you do decide to come back, I would *LOVE* to hear more from you about sex ed!