Leaked 2020 life orientation curriculum has educators up in arms over "grossly insensitive" sex education material

Educating learners on "issues of Gender-Based Violence" is a central concern for the DBE.
Educating learners on "issues of Gender-Based Violence" is a central concern for the DBE.

New claims have been made by the president of the SA Teacher Union (SAOU) regarding inappropriate content included in the 2020  Life Orientation curriculum. 

Referencing an alleged leaked document, SAOU's Chris Klopper has called the content "grossly insensitive," and is now urging educators to boycott the material. 

According to a City Press report, the leaked content includes lessons on "what 'private parts' are and the biological names for them" for Grade 4 learners, masturbation for Grade 7 learners and "a seven-step, illustrated depiction of how a female condom should be correctly placed" for Grade 9 learners. 

Additionally, the purported document showed that learners in grade 10 and 11 would be learning about "various sexual orientations" and transgender people. 

The City Press report maintains that the DBE's Head of Communication Elijah Mhlanga has yet to respond. 

Ministry Spokesperson, Hope Mokgathle, told Parent24 the Department was not aware of the City Press article or the leaked curriculum. 

Earlier reports on proposed 2020 sexuality education materials relaying that the future curriculum would teach Grade 4 pupils about masturbation have since been dismissed by the Department as being taken out of context, and labelled "a complete misrepresentation of the work the Department is doing."


Also see: Bringing “the talk” onto school premises: case for comprehensive sexuality education


'Designed to assist educators'

In September 2019, the Basic Education Department announced it was currently implementing newly developed Scripted Lesson Plans (SLPs) for Life Skills and Life Orientation (LO) in 1572 schools across the country before a national roll-out. 

As per the announcement, these lessons "have been designed to assist educators to teach scientifically accurate, evidence-informed, incremental, age-appropriate and culturally appropriate [Sexuality Education] within the Life Skills and LO CAPS in the classroom."

The trial run materials, which are currently being tested in the Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Western Cape, cover the following topics: 

  • Relationships;
  • Values, Rights, Culture and Sexuality;
  • Understanding Gender;
  • Violence and Staying Safe;
  • Skills for health and Well-being;
  • The Human Body and Development;
  • Sexuality and Sexual Behaviour; and
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health

The Department said that educating learners on "issues of Gender-Based Violence" was a central concern for the newly developed lessons. 

The DBE also noted that "Additional resources to engage stakeholders within school communities have been developed in preparation to the provision of sexuality education in schools." 

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