PRESS RELEASE

24 October 2019

For immediate distribution

CONTROVERSIAL SEX-ED CONTENT TO BE ROLLED OUT IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, REVEALED

The Department of Basic Education’s new Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) curriculum (likely) to be rolled out in public schools in 2020, has been mired in controversy and secrecy. Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) has this week had sight of the content, after Members of Parliament had pressed the Department therefor at a meeting of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on 17 September.

An inspection of the Scripted Lesson Plans (SLPs) and Educator Guides reveals that Grade 4s will be expected to engage in group discussions to identify their (and others’) “private parts”.  Grade 5s will be taught – using a graphicly explicit scenario – about the risks of intrusive lesbian relationships, homosexual molestation and sexual assault. Grade 6s will be asked their views on sexting topless photos on WhatsApp, and Grade 8s will have their teacher describe what happens during vaginal, oral and anal sex. Educators are compelled to teach that sexual orientation is not a matter of choice and, of the sexual “heroes and role models” that children are encouraged to respect and imitate, four of five are HIV positive and three of five identify as LGBTQ. (The actual examples have not been included here as they are not suitable for sensitive viewers, but can be seen / downloaded by clicking here.)

Having now seen the actual content, parents and teachers have every reason to be very concerned – particularly as some of the content to which children will be exposed, and teachers will be expected to teach, is nothing less than ‘soft porn’ ”, says Michael Swain, Executive Director of Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA). “Of all subjects taught in schools, CSE is the most likely to make a lasting impact on children since they are at a highly impressionable age and often unable to process the information that they are given. For this reason, the rights of parents to raise their children according to their own values and beliefs must be therefore respected.  They must be consulted and shown the materials to which their children will be exposed and, if this conflicts with the values they hold, they must have the right to pull their child/ren from the class.”

Although the Department admitted to FOR SA in a meeting in June that there has been no meaningful consultation with the most critical stakeholders in the process (parents and teachers), they have nevertheless forged ahead and completed (with Ministerial sign-off) all the SLPs and Educator Guides for grades 4 to 12. This despite the fact also that a Midline Report containing the results of a pilot study in five provinces, revealed that there is little to no support for the new CSE curriculum and that “traditional values” are “key barriers” to its implementation throughout South Africa. In terms of the Report, many teachers expressed discomfort about delivering the content and many parents objected that the type of graphic and ideologically-laden content is completely inappropriate.

The Department’s project has been funded by, amongst others, USAID and involves a review of the old curriculum to incorporate UNESCO’s highly controversial International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (ITGSE), contributed to by the notorious abortion agency Planned Parenthood. The Department’s decision to incorporate ITGSE in the new curriculum comes despite scientific studies showing that the ITGSE curriculum and approach are ineffective in achieving its apparent objectives of curbing teenage pregnancy and the transmission of HIV and other STIs, and in fact do more harm than good – particularly in African contexts.

ENDS.

For more information, contact:
Michael Swain
Executive Director, FOR SA
Email: michael.swain@forsa.org.za  
Cell: 072 270 1217