Credit: News One

According to health officials, an increase in the number of Australian teen pregnancies has fuelled controversy over whether schools should offer condoms and for what ages are they appropriate.

A recent research revealed a quarter of 10th graders said they were having sex and half of 12th graders said they have had sex, with sixty per cent of males and 46 per cent of females said they always used condoms.

A proposal suggests that students as young as 12 years old in Melbourne would be able to get free condoms, reported the Melbourne Herald Sun.

Condoms should be distributed by machines or kept in student common rooms, said a taxpayer-financed group, Family Planning Victoria.

Lynne Jordan, chief executive of Family Planning Victoria said, We do know that there are some very young people having sex. And having condoms more readily available - there's no evidence to suggest that actually increases sexual activity.

If a younger person who is sexually active gets the condom, I would think that's a better proposition than then actually having unprotected sex.

However, before such a plan can be enforced, Jordan said it may take a few years of discussions between schools, Family Planning Victoria and the federal government.

She said it would still be up to individual schools to determine whether to stock condoms and how to distribute them.

According to spokesman of the Department of Education, condoms should be available only to 11th and 12th grade students and only if approved by the school community.

Brian Burgess, president of the Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals said the issue is important now with the increasing numbers of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Mr Burgess said it is not just about young people's sexuality or when they first start having sex - it is actually a health issue.