PRESS RELEASE by Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA)

13 May 2019

For immediate distribution

SEX-ED FOR KIDS ARTICLE HAS PARENTS IN AN UPROAR

Following an article by the Sunday Times entitled “Grade 4s to learn about masturbation in new life orientation curriculum”, there has been an outcry at the proposal that from next year textbooks for pupils in grades 4 to 12 will reflect a “cutting edge” Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) curriculum that treats masturbation, sexual consent, gender nonconformity and single-parent families as mainstream.  While the Department of Basic Education (“the DBE”) has been quick to deny and distance itself from this report, and has accused the journalist of writing an article which is “misleading and in fact, a complete misrepresentation of the work the Department is doing”, it is important that they hear loud and clear that this is a topic of deep interest and concern to South African parents.

Parents of learners (typically through their School Governing Body) should at least have the opportunity to know in advance the topics which any CSE curriculum will be teaching”, says Michael Swain, Executive Director of Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA). “Parents should further have the option to withdraw their child/ren from such teaching in the event that it conflicts with their own value systems.”

FOR SA has met with the DBE on a number of occasions to raise concerns on how CSE will be implemented in South Africa.  These talks have mainly revolved around respecting parents’ rights in terms of not being forced to expose their children to being taught about sex and sexuality, which may be in conflict with their own values, belief and opinions.  Unlike (say) mathematics, teaching on sex will always have an underlying value system, which should therefore be the prerogative and the right of parents, since they have the primary responsibility to educate their own children, not the State.  The danger – clearly evidenced by how CSE has been implemented internationally – is that CSE is typically aimed at sexualizing children, rather than teaching them about sex and its responsibilities.

ENDS.

For more information, contact:

Michael Swain

Executive Director, FOR SA

Email: Michael.swain@forsa.org.za

Cell: 072 270 1217