Ever since it emerged that the Department of Basic Education had created updated scripted lesson plans for teachers to better present the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) subject under the Life Orientation curriculum, parents and teachers have been expressing their disapproval of the content.
In fact, over 100 000 people have joined together in a Facebook group called #LeaveOurKidsAlone in an attempt to centralise their efforts to entirely remove CSE subjects from schools in South Africa.
We've received hundreds of emails, WhatsApp messages and social media comments from parents and stakeholders who are keen to share their thoughts on the topic.
Among many others, mom of three Elmarie reached out to us, explaining how she was recently invited to join the Facebook group #LeaveOurKidsAlone, she wanted to share her take on the topic.
Read her letter below:
As a mother of three, the eldest 29 and youngest 11, I was curious so I had a look at the #LeaveOurKidsAlone Facebook page to see what they stand for.
If you do not know, the page is for: parents, teachers, principals and schools who oppose the current and planned sexuality education in the Life Orientation curriculum for grades 4 to 12.
A lot of the info on this group is based on information from the Department of Basic Education and UNESCO.
I downloaded the UNESCO document in question and read some parts.
All I could find was rational, well researched and balanced guidelines for sexuality education.
A factual approach that will equip children to make the choices they need to when the time comes.
Those choices will obviously also be influenced by their culture, religion, beliefs and moral codes, as learnt at home.
As per UNESCO document introduction: “too many young people still make the transition from childhood to adulthood receiving inaccurate, incomplete or judgement laden information …”
It goes on to say that this inadequate preparation makes our children vulnerable.
Views need to be challenged
To me, it is a clear and rational document.
The “let girls be girls, and boys be boys” views need to be challenged, and the proposed curriculum in part does just that.
Unless you have first-hand experience, you have no idea what kind of difficulty children that do not fit into these boxes created by society have to face in a judgmental society.
I also went through the various local school textbook examples the members were posting about.
I thought they were relevant and I would imagine especially for the majority of government school kids, many whom come from poorer communities with little access to factual information that can make a world of difference to these kids I learning how to protect themselves from sexual predators.
Responsibility of the parent
They claim it’s the responsibility of the parent to provide sex education.
Truth is not many parents live up to this and when you look at SA demographics there are probably a small percentage that do. Sex is treated like it’s a dirty thing, like knowing how this works will ruin your child.
I think a child can be naïve to their own detriment: being confidently equipped makes them less vulnerable. In the same way as learning about the effects of drugs or the types of drugs does not turn your child into a drug addict.
I applaud this fact based approach, and I believe that knowledge is power and that it does indeed equip kids.
I have faith that my children will be able to navigate their way through life. I don’t have to withhold information from them.
In fact I want them to be equipped, to ask questions, to understand, to think critically.
As with any other information I would like them to apply the filter they have learnt at home.
The only moral way
Lastly, I will certainly not shame them into thinking it’s a taboo topic or that abstinence is the only moral way.
I am not an expert in the field, but I believe the experts when they say that “sexuality education does not promote promiscuity; it promotes healthy, informed, and responsible behaviour."
Needless to say, thanks for the invite, but I will have to decline.
- Elmarie W
Please note: We aim to share a variety opinions, and the views expressed by our readers don't necessarily reflect those of Parent24 or Media24.
Share your story with us, and we could publish your mail. Anonymous contributions are welcome.