A new media storm has erupted around the Department of Basic Education’s (DBE) revised Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) component of the Life Orientation curriculum, with political parties, interest-based organisations and some trade unions weighing in on the matter.

The DBE has issued a comprehensive response to the many allegations, rejecting it as a “continued deliberate misrepresentation of facts”. The response can be accessed at https://www.education.gov.za/Newsroom/MediaReleases/English/tabid/2322/ctl/Details/mid/8493/ItemID/7757/Default.aspx

In an attempt to take the sting out of the debate and to pacify the public, the DBE alleges that it has “through various consultation platforms” allowed for the evolution of the content and in fact adapted the lesson plans as a result.

 As an important a stakeholder in the education sector, representing educators that will be expected to teach the content of the CSE, NAPTOSA expected to be included in these consultation platforms. To the present, NAPTOSA has neither been consulted, nor has it had sight of the curriculum, the scripted lesson plans, the textbooks or the alleged online teacher training course.

The whole project has been veiled in secrecy, with the Department responding and correcting what they call misleading information, but at the same time failing to share the complete information with stakeholders. It is unfathomable how the DBE, with this approach, can be surprised and concerned that there is confusion and panic among South Africans.

What is NAPTOSA’s position on the matter?  NAPTOSA accepts that there is a need for age appropriate sexuality education. But UNTIL the Department has had the decency to consult NAPTOSA on the matter, with full disclosure of the contents of the CSE and for us to verify such age appropriate content, we have no choice but to reject the implementation thereof. NAPTOSA can never lend support to something that it has not had the opportunity to interrogate.

B.L. Manuel
Executive Director