London, Jan 28 : In a new controversial move to cut teenage pregnancies, the government is considering sending parents sex advice packs when their children turn nine.
These booklets would educate parents on how to teach their children about sex, relationships and contraception.
This proposal, suggested in a report by Chris Bryant, a Labour MP and aide to Harriet Harman, Labour's Deputy Leader, constitutes a plan to curb the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe. He has also suggested that there should be compulsory lessons about sex and relationships in schools.
This move comes as the Government's £150 million strategy to halve under-18 conception rates by 2010 is failing badly in many deprived areas of the United Kingdom.
In the report, Bryant said that large parts of the country are "blighted" by high teenage pregnancy levels which create a "vicious cycle of under-achievement, benefit dependency, ill health, lack of aspiration, poor parenting and child poverty".
He carried out extensive interviews with teenagers and single mothers and found that in some areas, 20 teenagers were pregnant at any one time for every secondary school.
He suggested the Swedish way to counter the problem- that parents should be given advice booklets ensuring parents and schools to give out the same message to children.
"At present most kids will tell you they have been told how to put a condom on a cucumber but that is it. And it is not enough," said Bryant.
He advised that schools or education authorities should provide detailed information to all parents of children from the age of 9 or 10 upwards in order to persuade them to bring up the issue with their children.
Though, the proposals received wholehearted support from the Government's advisers on teenage pregnancy, Jim Dobbin, a Labour MP and chairman of the all-party parliamentary pro-life group, expressed his concern.
"The danger with sex education is that it promotes sex among young people. The Government's policy has failed. Rather than teaching children more about sex there needs to be more emphasis on the benefits of family life," he said.
Currently, it is statutory that the children are taught the basics about biology and the mechanics of reproduction, beginning primary schools. But, sex education, in its wider context is not compulsory.