Parents of school learners should be informed upfront regarding topics in the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) curriculum, says Freedom of Religion SA (FOR SA), amidst an outcry following a Sunday Times article entitled Grade 4s to learn about masturbation in new life orientation curriculum.
While the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has been quick to deny and distance itself from the newspaper report, and accused the journalist of misrepresenting its plans, it is important that they hear loud and clear that this is a topic of deep interest and concern to South African parents, says Michael Swain executive directory of FOR SA which says it has met with the department on a number of occasions to raise concerns on how CSE will be implemented in SA.
“The danger – clearly evidenced by how CSE has been implemented internationally – is that CSE is typically aimed at sexualising children, rather than teaching them about sex and its responsibilities,” says FOR SA in a press release.
According to the article in the Sunday Times on May 12, it was proposed that from next year textbooks for pupils in grades 4 to 12 will reflect a “cutting edge” CSE curriculum that treats masturbation, sexual consent, gender nonconformity and single-parent families as mainstream.
In its reaction to the Sunday Times report the DBE, inter alia, denies that the Grade 4 Life Orientation will cover masturbation and asserts that sexuality education for Grade 4 is guided by UNESCO and input from respected SA institutions.
It says: “The DBE will be surprised if this particular lesson set causes outrage among learners, parents, teachers – or the media – around age inappropriateness. We wonder what the motive of the journalist is in this regard.”
DBE spokesman Elijah Mhlanga reportedly told gay news publication MambaOnline that diverse sexual education would only be taught from Grade 7 and not Grade 4.
MambaOnline reports: “He [Mhlanga] explained that what the department was indeed doing was updating and revising all its textbooks across all subjects and grades to be inclusive of all people and not be ‘discriminatory in any way.’
” ‘A task team found that there were inconsistencies and there was bias towards certain people [in the textbooks],’ said Mhlanga. ‘For example, we found that the concept of family is represented as being between man and woman, whereas in the country today, we could have a man and a man with a child or a woman and woman with a child. That is also a family. But in our textbooks, that’s not reflected as such. These inconsistencies are going to be dealt with and the process has already started to fix it.’
“Mhlanga continued: ‘There are also people who prefer not to call themselves a man or woman, or are intersex or transgender. It’s there in real life; textbooks cannot pretend they are not there. We need to correctly reflect that because if we don’t and young people find that in society, there will be confusion.’
“He added: ‘We are not in the business of indoctrinating children, we are exposing them to information. That process is going to be done.’ ”
FOR SA’s Swain says its talks with the DBE 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.
“Parents should further have the option to withdraw their children from such teaching in the event that it conflicts with their own value systems,” he says.
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, says FOR SA.
Ryan Smit, director of Cause For Justice (CFJ), told Gateway News he is in regular contact with the person in the DBE who is in charge of curriculum development and will seek a meeting with that official later this month to take up the concerns about CSE following the Sunday Times report.
I am hopeful at this stage that government will not deliver us (our children) to the sexual ethics of the sexual revolution, and even if there are elements of it in the curricula they will allow parents to opt out. Let’s hope, pray and see.”
Meanwhile, in a post on Christian View Network’s Facebook page, director Philip Rosenthal says while the DBE’s press release denying it is planning to teach masturbation to Grade 4 children in schools next year is encouraging, there are grounds to mistrust the DBE.
- Rosenthal writes: “The press release denying the allegation does not go far enough:
Firstly, to deny for example they will not teach masturbation to ANY children (not just grade 4s).
- Secondly, it just refers to the content of the current Grade 4 textbook under development. It does not promise they will not be shown other such material (for example in a video or booklet).
- There is no provision in the policy giving parents control for example by being required to be notified beforehand of such lessons or having an authority the can complain to if they are dissatisfied. The Draft DBE Learner Pregnancy policy shows contempt for parental rights.
- We have been informed by a parent that an elite Cape Town government girl high school showed a video to girls promoting masturbation and a primary school was promoting same-sex marriage. We have multiple reports of promotion of the LGBT sex and gender education agenda in various schools – opening the door to such activists without parental consent.
- Materials distributed in schools compiled by ‘LoveLife’ have already been promoting immoral sex for years, on television and on the internet aimed at children.
- The Learner Pregnancy Policy for which comment was requested last year is full of promotion of abortion and immoral sex. As far as we know it has not been promulgated and we don’t want it to be.
- The team the Department of Education have brought in to help them are likely to promote immoral sex and need a purge.
- The claim [of] credibility by reference to United Nations policy. What they don’t say is that the United Nations policy has been hijacked by Planned Parenthood which is promoting immoral ‘comprehensive sexuality education’.
- What was a short while ago categorised as statutory rape is now being marketed to children as normal and draft DBE policy proposes rather to punish those who disagree as ‘discrimination’.
- Draft DBE Learner Pregnancy policy shows all the signs and buzz words of being drafted in collaboration with Planned Parenthood, the worlds wealthiest and most powerful NGO which is hijacking Education Departments all over the developing world ‘Gupta style’ – and which previously won the Department of Health 200 million tender for sex education – and which wasted this money in counter-productive immoral sex ed.
“Before we trust them, we need DBE to scrap this immoral Learner Pregnancy policy and replace it with an abstinence and virtue based policy, reinforce parental accountability and get rid of Planned Parenthood and all their immoral advisors. For anyone interested we have a 13 page submission on what is wrong with the Draft Learner Pregnancy Policy.”