The Department of Basic Education appreciates the interest shown in education particularly the engagement regarding the Comprehensive Sexuality Education component of Life Orientation. DBE recognizes the concerns raised by numerous stakeholders including parents and South Africans in general.The Department however wishes to address some of the issues that have contaminated the debate on the whole matter of CSE. The DBE is of the view that a fake news and false reporting led to a huge misunderstanding resulting in public outrage. All these factors were unnecessary.The main purpose of CSE is not to sexualize children but instead to empower them with social skills to deal with a range of abuses such as peer pressure, bullying, gender based violence. LO as a subject is used to equip learners with the knowledge needed to prevent sexual activity that results in HIV infections and early and unplanned pregnancy. “There is a misunderstanding that DBE is implementing a new curriculum. There is no new curriculum to be implemented, there is not implementation in 2020 either. All of these reports are false. All that the Department is doing testing the use of Scripted Lesson Plans to strengthen the teaching of Life Orientation. It is within this context that the Department has taken the initiative to strengthen the Life Skills/ Life Orientation curriculum. CSE is based on Curriculum and Assessment Policy (CAPS) and it is a resource that is used to improve curriculum delivery and the SLP’s provide content to topics from curriculum,” said Elijah Mhlanga, the Chief Director for Communications and Media Liaison at the Department of Basic Education.He said one of the concerns was in regard to the use of United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education. Mhlanga said there is a difference between “Sex Education” and Comprehensive Sexuality Education. He urged the media to refer to it appropriately because the incorrect terminology also fuelled the outrage. “The DBE curriculum is based on the CAPS Policy, the ITGSE was used as a guide with regards to topics covered in CAPS. DBE does not teach the ITGSE but CAPS,” he said.Probably the biggest concern among parents was that they were not consulted in the development of the Scripted Lesson PlansThe DBE processes include consultation with relevant education stakeholders on the development of materials. In this regard, the National Consultative Forum (NCF) which represents School Governing Bodies and Teacher Unions was consulted on the development of the SLPs and support material including the manuals for SGB sensitisation. In addition, parent orientation workshops were conducted in schools where the SLPs are being tested. Teacher training has been key in ensuring the success of the pilot.“The pilot has now touched 565,000 learners, 6,300 teachers, 2, 190 school governing body members, and 12,200 parents in the 5 provinces where the test-phase is being carried out. In each case consultation has taken place. So if some members of the public feel aggrieved about CSE it is simply because they are not aware of it and therefore shouldn’t be upset because the pilot is not happening in their provinces or the schools where their children attend. What is required is calmness,” Mhlanga said.The intention of the pilot is to learn lessons and make adjustments where necessary before a full scale implementation of the CSE SLPs. DBE is not ready for full scale roll-out yet.As for the Partnership with United State Agency for International Development (USAID), the DBE has a long standing relationship with the Government of United States of America on a number of academic and co-curricula projects including improving of reading in the foundation phase and HIV prevention related programmes. The support from developmental is informed by priorities and identified need of the SA government.To allay the fears of members of the public the Department has now released the scripted lesson plans on the website. The SLPs are available for review by interested parties. In addition the Department will also embark on a series of coordinated sessions to present to various stakeholders on the public. Members of the public are urged to contact the Department directly on www.education.gov.za or social media platforms where the handle is DBE SA or call 0800 202 933. This post is sponsored and paid for by the Department of Basic Education of South Africa.