A private business school in Auckland is to include sex education in its curriculum because managers say many students from Asia are "sexually ignorant".
From next year, the 450 students at Concordia Institute of Business will be required to attend sex education classes to help them "cope with the new-found freedom of living away from the controls of their parents", said director Isaac Phua.
"Lack of sexual knowledge is especially true for students from Asia, where formal sex education is not a norm at schools and where the topic is generally taboo."
He said many international students flatted with people of the opposite sex, putting them in a situation where they "could easily fall into temptation".
"It gets dangerous when the only sex advice they can get is from their peers, which is why we want to introduce sex education as an extension of our pastoral care," said Mr Phua, who also runs the National Technology Institute.
Language student Mandy Zhou, 18, from Shanghai, said sex was not taught in Chinese schools and it was not culturally accepted for girls there to talk about sex. Those who did were regarded as "rude" or "cheap".
The 2009 Abortion Supervisory Committee Report also found abortions involving Asian women accounted for 2875 of 17,940 in 2008.
Although the report did not indicate how many of those Asians were foreigners, Auckland University researcher Elsie Ho believed the high number could be partly attributed to international students.
"Many just don't think about the consequences of their actions, partly also because of a lack of knowledge, and when they find they are pregnant, they don't really know any other options," said Dr Ho, who led a 2007 national study on experiences of Chinese international students in New Zealand.
She said teaching sex education to Asian students was a good idea but many also needed support to help them live responsibly.
"Many are inadequately prepared before they come to New Zealand, and it is important that they are supported by their schools," she said.
"Many of them feel they are old enough to look after themselves, but many don't know how to.
"They just think they can now drink, drive, gamble, without their parents there to say no."