Basic education 'baffled' by uproar over comprehensive sex education lessons

Parents, political parties and civil organisations have criticised the Department of Basic Education's overhaul of Life Orientation to have scripted lesson plans on sexual education.

Some parents have had concerns with the comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) as they believe it teaches their children about sex in more graphic imagery and promoted high-risk sex behaviours.

The African Christian Democratic Party has also voiced its concern, saying the curriculum encourages children to have unsafe sex.

Refilwe Moloto speaks to the Department of Basic Education head of communications Elijah Mhlanga about the CSE.

RELATED: ACDP claims new sex education program promotes oral sex to pre-teens

For the past 19 years, comprehensive sexual education has always been there and the conversation now has come about simply because we want to improve the delivery of that content through the scripted pilot plans.

Elijah Mhlanga, Head of communications - Department of Basic Education

We have noticed that teachers were allowing their cultural and background prejudices to get in the way of teaching what learners should be taught.

Elijah Mhlanga, Head of communications - Department of Basic Education

RELATED: 'Comprehensive Sexuality Education not formally implemented'

When we were publishing the policy on HIV and Aids, everyone spoke about condoms and forgot about prevention and treatment, Mhlanga adds.

The problem with discussions like this in South Africa is that we choose one line and we stick to it and forget the bigger picture.

Elijah Mhlanga, Head of communications - Department of Basic Education

Even in this case, we are talking about sex education when in fact the official name of the subject is Life Orientation.

Elijah Mhlanga, Head of communications - Department of Basic Education

Mhlanga emphasises that the subject has been in school for the past 19 years.

We are actually baffled that people are complaining now when this content has been there for 19 years and the books have been there and we are not adding anything.

Elijah Mhlanga, Head of communications - Department of Basic Education

Family therapist Talya Ressel says families are sacred to talk about sexuality and sex education to their children.

We are so scared to talk to our children about this and it is so in their face, in media, movies and we need to be having these discussions.

Talya Ressel, Family therapist and clinical social worker

It is interesting that the biggest outcry is around the issue of musterbation while there are so many other issues around sexual education such as teen pregnancies and consent.

Talya Ressel, Family therapist and clinical social worker

Listen to full interviews below...


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Basic education 'baffled' by uproar over comprehensive sex education lessons


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