The Department of Basic Education’s new comprehensive sex education curriculum apparently involves learners identifying their genitals in class, commenting on bare pictures used in sex-texting messages, and learning involving vaginal, oral and anal sex. This curriculum forms part of the subject Life Orientation and is expected to be in Grade 4 to Grade 12 to be implemented. Minister of Education, Angie Motshekga, has apparently also approved much of this content.
The content was recently made available to members of parliament and published on the group Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR). During group discussions, 4 learners must identify their own and their classmates’ Grade 5’s will learn about homosexual molestation and sexual assault and Grade 6’s will be asked what they think of photos of naked people sent in WhatsApp messages. Grade 8 teachers will inform them about what happens during oral, vaginal and anal sex. According to FOR, the content seems to normalize same-sex relationships and abortion. Textbooks also contain graphic photographs of the use of female condoms.
In a press release, FOR expressed their dissatisfaction with the content of the curriculum.
“Having looked at the content of the curriculum, we know that parents and teachers have reason to be concerned,” says Michael Swain, CEO of FOR. “Many of the content that children will be exposed to is equivalent to soft porn.” He says parents have the right to access this content and if it doesn’t match the values they would like to convey to their children, parents have the right to remove their children from class.
The School Support Center (SOS) believes that the proposed sex education does not equip learners, but exposes them to a highly graphic curriculum that is generally not age-appropriate.
“We believe that the graphic nature of the curriculum exposes learners unnecessarily to knowledge they are not ready for in an environment that is not equipped to deal with the sensitive nature of the topic,” says Melanie Buys, Head of Development at the SOS.