With the Department of Basic Education poised to implement Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) throughout South Africa next year, many parents and society, in general, are feeling ignored, anxious and powerless due to the lack of information about what will be taught. In this article, Lee-Ann Viljoen, highlights constructive action people can take, gleaned from the CSE Talk website which was created by Cause for Justice to help stakeholders be informed on this important issue.
Cause for Justice (CFJ), a non-profit human rights and public interest organisation created the website CSE Talk ( http://csetalk.co.za ) to make it easy for everyone to be informed about the CSE curriculum.
A good place to start is to watch the video clip below from the CSE Talk website, in which Ryan Smith, Executive Director of CFJ and Dieter Lubbe, Director of Pinion Project, discuss strategic facts about CSE and what can be done — and make a strong call for informed, public engagement in the process.
The CSE website identifies a broad array of stakeholders who should engage with the DBE in the best interest of children. These include parents/guardians, school governing bodies and management teams, teachers and school staff members, sex education providers and curricula authors, healthcare providers and many more. See the full list of responsible stakeholders on this page
What to request from the DBE and related actions?
The website also has an action page which offers practical advice on what to request from the DBE and what action to take through existing channels.
Parents, guardians and caregivers are encouraged to contact their local school governing body (SGB) or school management team (SMT) and request them to raise the following questions:
- Ask the DBE to
- make full disclosure of all completed new materials and scripted lesson plans (SLPs) available without delay;
- who contributed to the SLPs,
- the implementation timetable,
- the outcome of all SLP pilot programmes at some schools,
- the names of contributors who developed text books to support the CSE and
- progress of the textbook writing project, including regular updates to be made.
- Ask the DBE for
- adequate public participation to determine whether the public wants national sexuality education provided and
- to allow provinces, individuals and schools and or parents to teach an alternative curriculum to the extent that they disagree with the proposed content.
- Ask that their SGB request confirmation from the DBE
- that the state will recognise and protect the parental rights to teach their kids about sexuality themselves and
- that the provinces, schools and parents be allowed to teach an alternative curriculum to the proposed CSE curriculum.
Cause for Justice suggests that educators and other stakeholders work through their respective oversight and industry bodies, such as FEDSAS, NASGB, ISASA, SADTU, SAOU, SACE, HPCSA and others to request that they raise the issues in the list of specific requests (listed above) to the DBE.
In addition CFJ suggests that:
- Non-state sexuality education providers actively train parents on how to educate their children regarding sexuality, sexual choices and consequences.
- Sexuality education curricula be developed as alternatives to state-sponsored CSE and rolling these out to all South African communities and that
- Parents take responsibility to train their children on character and values-based healthy sexuality, sexual choices, behaviour and consequences.
More help available
If you want to either work with CFJ, need guidance on how to approach the DBE or if you don’t have a regulatory or oversight body to approach the DBE, please contact the team on 074 355 0775 or email them on firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also request CFJ to act on your behalf.
Parents and the public may also stay informed by signing up on the CSEtalk.co.za website or by sharing information on the CFJ Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Cause4Justice/ on their social media platforms.
Further information on the CSE on the Cause for Justice website is available at: