The Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) curriculum is set to be rolled out across South African schools in 2020. However, the UNESCO sponsored programme has attracted fierce criticism from a number of detractors, after details of the lesson plans sparked a wave of anger amongst parents and religious groups.
Despite the Department of Basic Education (DBE) claiming they have engaged with all stakeholders, some teaching unions are opposed to the new curriculum. Representatives feel that the content is too graphic for schoolchildren, and that there a few topics that aren’t age-appropriate for their target grades.
The birds, the bees, and even a few controversies
The biggest concerns surround what Grade 4 children may be asked to learn. Discussions about “private parts” feature in their lesson plans for next year. Meanwhile, Grade 7 children will allegedly address the topic of masturbation, and secondary school learners may be asked to refer to illustrations of “female condom use”.
It may be a case of he-said, she-said at the moment, but one thing is certain: A great lack of communication and transparency is prohibiting concerned citizens from understanding what exactly features on this curriculum. That’s where Nomsa Marchesi has decided to step in.
DA want answers on controversial sex education curriculum
The DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education has revealed that her party wants a full briefing of what the lessons entail, to be delivered in a session of Parliament. According to Marchesi, the concerns and sensitivities of the complainants need to be recognised:
“The DA wrote to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on Tuesday to request an urgent meeting with all relevant stakeholders in order to give the Department of Basic Education (DBE) an opportunity to give a full briefing on what the CSE curriculum will entail.”
“Sex education must strike a careful balance between equipping young people with the information they need to make the right choices, and unintentionally over-sexualizing learners. The DA is cognizant that there appears to be concerns related to the level of detail in some of the proposed CSE material.”
DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education Nomsa Marchesi on the new sex education curriculum
The DA also plan to get answers on the following questions:
- Will the CSE will be implemented in schools by 2020?
- Has it been piloted in schools, and what are the outcomes?
- Has the DBE has consulted teacher unions and parent bodies as to the content?