Parents can opt out of new CSE lessons says DBE Minister

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Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga
Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga

The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, has responded to parliamentary questions posed by DA MP, Nomsa Marchesi, on the controversial Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) 2020 updates.

Marchesi asked if parents could refuse to let their children learn the CSE curriculum being offered among the Life Orientation subjects, and what would happen to teachers who refuse to teach the curriculum, among other questions.

These questions come after recent objections by Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA), the South African Teachers' Union and many parents and teachers in response to revelations that the DBE's new scripted lesson plans for 2020 include "graphically explicit" scenarios, examples of sexual assault, group discussions on the topic of "private parts", and more. 

Must read: Are the new Comprehensive Sexuality Education lesson plans really too much?

Alternative curriculum that meets CAPS requirements 

Motshekga explained in a written response that "all learners in public schools receive set provisions as per the CAPS. Parents have a right to opt out of the current curriculum, provided that they can produce an alternative curriculum that meets the required CAPS criteria for competence."

What exactly an "alternative curriculum that meets the required CAPS criteria for competence" means to parents must still be unpacked. 

Teachers are required to deliver the curriculum

When asked what the actions would be taken against teachers who are opposed to the CSE and if there is an option for teachers to refuse to teach CSE programmes, Motshekga says CSE is provided as part of the Life Skills and Life Orientation CAPS and that teachers are required to deliver the curriculum as set in the CAPS.

She provided assurances that the DBE supports teachers to provide seamless delivery of CSE lessons. 

Motshekga also explained that since the introduction of Comprehensive Sexuality Education modules in 2000, the DBE has held continuous consultative engagements with education stakeholders at National and Provincial level.

The views of the parents, religious groups and relevant non-governmental organisations are represented by stakeholders who form part of the National Consultative Forum of the DBE, she said, where CSE programmes are continually discussed.

Compiled for Parent24 by Anneline Hlangani 

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Read more:

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

Are the new Comprehensive Sexuality Education lesson plans really too much?

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