Clarity sought following department’s contradictory statements on CSE

Attendees at last week’s meeting in Pretoria between the Department of Basic Education and religious and traditional leaders.

By Daniela Ellerbeck, FOR SA legal advisor

At the meeting between the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and religious and traditional leaders in Pretoria on Thursday January 23 , the DBE’s Deputy Director-General, Dr Granville Whittle, in no uncertain terms stated that once the pilot phase has been completed, scripted lesson plans (SLPs) for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) will be implemented nationally in all public schools and taught to all learners from Grades R to 12.

He made it very clear that the SLPs (consisting of an educator guide for teachers, and a learner workbook for pupils) will be compulsory, and that there will be no “opt-out” for parents who are uncomfortable with the content.

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At a meeting with teacher unions and school governing body associations (including Fedsas) the very next day (on Friday January 24), however, the department apparently stated the exact opposite – namely that SLPs will not be compulsory for teachers to use and that they (and public schools) are free to teach sexuality education from alternative sources. In other words, while the curriculum will remain the same, schools will still be free to choose the material they want to use to achieve the stated outcomes.

This assurance by the DBE clearly contradicts what was stated a day before, but is also contrary to the Minister of Basic Education’s earlier reply to a written question by Honourable Marchesi MP, wherein she stated that teachers would be subject to disciplinary action if they refuse to teach CSE.

In light of its clearly contradictory messages, FOR SA has written to the DBE this week for clarification to ascertain what precisely the department’s final position is with regard to SLPs (whether they are compulsory or not) and whether this will be encapsulated in an official policy document.

FOR SA is currently still awaiting an answer from the Department.

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  1. This is part of New Age attempt to break down the Family Unit,and instil atheistic views amongst the population. Families are individually responsible for building moral standards,and are not to be controlled and indoctrinated by the state. The duty of schools is to educate pupils to be competent in the use of the three R’s ( Reading,Writing,and Arithmetic) in order that knowledge can be expanded to the sciences,mathematics,and learning subjects pertaining to life such as history,geography,botany,and biology – the latter should pertain to the physical aspects of living beings,and not to explicit sexual orientation.
    I view this as a deliberate attempt to dehumanize and control,and is to be condemned in the strongest terms.

  2. Hugo Rademeyer

    On a more practical viewpoint. I understand that the DBE desires to lower the number of school pregnancies through the implementation of the SLP’s. It is as meaningless and downright laughable as the University of Stellenbosch attempting to stamp out alcohol abuse in student residences by banning alcohol in any form and the empty containers in these places. The students will also be “punished” for this abuse. It is going to lead to many more students visiting pubs and bars and their lives, especially the girls’ lives, will be even more at risk should they emerge later in the evening.
    The birthrate of our indigenous people is extremely high and more and more mouths have to be fed and educated but there is not enough finances to build and maintain these schools. The value placed on the qualifications of teachers has diminished substantially. I was a teacher for more years than I wish to remember and the extent of the damage done to pupils / learners was alarming and is even more alarming nowadays as the standard of passing is beyond questionable. It is plainly ridiculous.
    If you teach man to fish do you honestly assume he will not try to fish again?
    Children who do not even have the basic ideas about sex, conception and birth will have their interests awakened and try to experiment far too soon. Yes, I believe that there are more pregnancies in primary than high schools. Yes, there are doctors and others who perform abortions on girls without the knowledge of their parents. This all makes the pregnancy risk that much more.
    If I had to teach again and be forced to teach the “planned” sex education, I would object and probably resign my post to someone who has lower moral standards.