'It's sex, get over it': South Africans respond to leaked 2020 sex education curriculum

'Should be done in an age-appropriate manner'
'Should be done in an age-appropriate manner'

An apparently leaked version of the new 2020 life orientation curriculum has people fuming. 

The updated sex education content is said to include lessons on private parts, masturbation and explicit direction on using female condoms, aimed at students from Grade 4 and up. 

Talking to City Press, SA Teacher Union (SAOU) president Chris Klopper was clear on instructing teachers to boycott the "grossly insensitive" material regardless of disciplinary action.

"[If] disciplinary action is taken by the department of education, SAOU will not hesitate in assisting its members with legal assistance and protection." 

It seems the country is ready to do the same, voicing strong opinions on the purported content via social media, while a minority have spoken up in support of the still-to-be-confirmed curriculum. 

Here we've rounded up some of the country's most popular opinions on both sides of the debate: 

Read more details here: Are the new Comprehensive Sexuality Education lesson plans really too much?

These parents expressed their disgust: 

'Not on my watch!'

"So basically teachers will be teaching porn to our kids?... I'd rather have my kids sit at home and not go to school at all, no kid of mine will be taught that nonsense on my watch. Never!" Sibusiso, via Facebook. 

'I'll be the best teacher'

"I say no to sex education for my child... I will teach her about her sexuality myself, after all, I was once her age so I'll be the best teacher for that.... with all these teachers reported for raping children at school what's going to happen after he teaches that lesson?" Nkhensani via Facebook  

'We learn it, now we can practice it'

"Schools are going to turn into maternity wards......... if you thought pregnancy in schools are high ...watch it now.... we learn it now we can practice it..." - Reinette via Facebook

'Opening the floodgates of hell in South Africa!'

"I am a Christian mom, and I am trying to teach my kids to abstain from sex. I am totally against this as this will drive kids to just have sex. This is robbing us from raising a generation of moral kids.

I wish I could have a personal chat with our minister so she can explain what drives her to do this.

It feels like they are opening the floodgates of hell in South Africa! I have kids, and I am concerned! Her kids are probably all married or grown-up.

It's time that we get more considerate people in power, not people who feel like they have nothing to lose when they come up with all sorts of rubbish! Consult the teachers and us." Venessa, Parent24 reader via email. 

'Breaking up family values'

"They are taking away the right of the father to talk to his son and the mother to the daughter... Breaking up family values. If you don't see it as the parent's duty or you don't want to do it, that's your problem.

I would just teach my kids the right way. Not this unGodly rubbish you are going to teach."Jerome, via Facebook

'Teach our kids REAL skills'

"It would make so much more sense to teach our kids REAL skills such as:

  • Self-defence
  • Life-saving at pools and beaches
  • Emergency assistance
  • What to do /not do at an accident or crime scene
  • Basic wound care
  • Symptoms and care of contagious diseases
  • Coping with load-shedding and water restrictions

These are the issues that we all deal with in real life, and the skills required are of immense value. There will always be some teens who experiment with drugs or fall pregnant.

There will always be some people who bully and are bullied. There will always be some families who go through divorce.

No Life Orientation curriculum in the world will change that.But chances are that every one of us will at one time or another either be present at an accident scene, or fall victim to some form of violence, or suffer from a contagious illness, or need to dress a wound or consider solar panels for our home. And if we live in SA, probably all of the above.

If our schools only ever talk to our kids about bullying and drugs and sex and teen pregnancy and how to use a condom, that's exactly what our kids will end up doing." - Carla, Parent24 reader via email  

Parents on the fence 

'I think in Grade 7 it should be about consent'

"Maybe in Grade 10, yes, but 7? I think in Grade 7 it should be about consent and primarily that. So kids understand the difference between forcing themselves and acknowledging themselves in situations. Don't believe this will help in any situation, but good luck to them." - Malose via Facebook

'They'll get the information from porn'

"You don't want your kids to learn this in the safety of their classroom guided by an informed teacher? No problem. They'll get the information from porn over the internet behind your back. You're undermining how much they already know!" - Anne via Facebook

'Should be done in an age-appropriate manner'

"Would like to view content before commenting. Grade 7 pupils are not babies, but sex education should be done in an age-appropriate manner and be in line with the school curriculum." - Joanna Evans via Facebook

'Hopefully, teachers will be properly trained'

"A difficult issue, however, these sexual education matters which used to be handled (often clumsily and with huge embarrassment) within a family, now have to be dealt with in schools.

Puberty kicks in on average, around 11 years of age. Children HAVE to be educated in order to protect themselves and make the correct choices in life. Hopefully, teachers will be properly trained to use inoffensive terminology and how best to approach these issues professionally." - Rose via Facebook 

Sex ed is a necessary evil 

'Children are sexually active'

"Whether we like it or not fact of the matter is that children are sexually active. Parents don't teach their children about sex because it's a taboo in African society.

The same teachers are also part of the problem because they sleep with those children. Sex education must be taught at school. Rather have educated fools, than uneducated fool somewhere he/she will implement what they have learned to save their life." - Oupa, via Facebook

'What's all the fuss about?'

All of that sounds like necessary and age-appropriate knowledge. From what I've heard (and seen on the internet) parents are not teaching these things to their children so at least they are getting this knowledge from somewhere. I don't see what all the fuss is about." - Nicole via Facebook

'Why is it wrong?' 

'Stuck in the dark old ages'

"Question is why don't the parents teach their own kids those things? Why is all the onus on our schooling system? Or are some still stuck in the dark old ages where it's taboo for grown-ups to talk about sex with their kids?" - Candy via Facebook

'Teachers of today are hypocrites'

"Let them boycott...  all of this happens while these very same teachers are sleeping with their pupils. The teachers of today are hypocrites. Rather teach our children about sex and stop allowing these teachers to abuse and impregnate our daughters. Mxm" - Samantha via Facebook 

'That's life'

"I hate to say this, but it is life and better to educate them than for them to go and explore to find out themselves. They are all starting at a young age these days, whether we like it or not." - Megan via Facebook 

For more on the topic 

Listen to Tracey Engelbrecht, author of "The Girl Who Couldn't Say No: Memoir of a teenage mom" and school facilitator on sexual health, in conversation with Lester Kiewit on Cape Talk, where she discusses some of the issues in the spotlight:

Chat back:

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Read more:

INFOGRAPHIC: Is South Africa's youth practising safe sex?

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