For the last couple of months the Department of Education has seen criticism from the media and the public in regards to the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) curriculum that will be formalised as part of the Life Orientation subject. Through CSE the department aims to implement intervention strategies that will help curb and reduce teenage pregnancy, however, recently parents have been fuming on the misinformation of CSE and how it will teach children to masturbate and be sexually active at a young age.
The Department of Education emphatically states no new content has been added to the Life Orientation subject and this has been part of the curriculum since the year 2000, and the department rejects that the curriculum is made to sexualise children.
Gauteng News spoke to Terrence Khala, media relations officer from the Department of Education, “It’s not part of the curriculum, it is formalisation and tightening up of the curriculum. The process will support teachers and assist them in articulating the CSE better to learners, we are in a process to train teachers.”
According to the media statement released by the Department of Education late October, teen birth as of April 2017 to March 2018 from the age of 10-14 years amounts to 2 716 teenage pupils who were pregnant and 15-19 years lead to 113 700 and this brings the total to 117 010.
These shocking statistics are a justification for the department to proceed with the CSE and reduce the scourge of teenage pregnancy, encourage self-love and respect for other people, understanding of concepts and value associated with sexual behaviour to name a few. Teachers and parents will be trained with necessary tools to assist and teach school pupils about sexual behaviour and signs of sexual predators that might target young children.
In the meantime, the Minister of Education Angie Motshekga announced that parents have a choice to optout of the sexuality curriculum by not allowing their children to attend the programme. She added that parents can alternatively produce a curriculum that would meet the required competencies in the curriculum assessment police statement (Caps).
“The views of parents are represented by School Governing Body associations, who form part of the national consultative forum of the Department of Basic Education. The views of religious groups and relevant non-governmental organisations are represented through the South African National Aids Council, which is the official co-ordinating structure of the country’s response to HIV, and the relationship between the government, civil society organisations and the religious sector, among others.”