Originally published in Natal Mercury
Religious organisations have accused Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga of bullying after she threatened teachers with disciplinary action for refusing to teach Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE).
The president of the SA Hindu Maha Sabha, Ashwin Trikamjee, said his opinion had not changed since the proposal was discussed.
“It is wrong, inappropriate and proper consultation with the communities should have taken place but has not and it seems she is headstrong,” said Trikamjee.
He said no teacher should be forced to teach something they do not want to teach, especially if it cuts across their moral and religious views.
“Those are inherent rights that are safeguarded in our Constitution and I think any attempt by her to discipline teachers who refuse to do so on moral and religious grounds is unfair,” he said.
Christian View Network director Philip Rosenthal said the minister’s response fudged the facts between the CSE and sex education in general.
“Any form of sex education needs prior notification and consent from the governing body and parents.
“The curriculum does not require using the scripted lesson plans to teach CSE, and the minister doesn’t have any legal basis to demand this.
“It is just bullying,” he said.
South African Muslim Network chairperson Faisal Suleman, said it was too early to comment on the impact this would have on teachers.
“I think once we have the final product then we can make a more informed comment.
“If teachers are forced to teach what goes against their religious beliefs or face disciplinary action as a result of refusing to teach content, then I do foresee unions taking the matter to court,” he said. of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (Caps) curriculum.
“The response in fact suggests that parents have the right to choose where they send their children to school. At any point a parent can opt out of the Caps curriculum by seeking another curriculum like Cambridge or the IEB (private schools),” she said.