South Africa-Education-Rights

S/African groups unhappy with sex education syllabus, gov’t unmoved

APA-Johannesburg (South Africa)

Plans by the South Africa’s education authorities to introduce sex education lessons as part of a life orientation curriculum have drawn sharp criticism from local conservative groups but the government says all is fine, APA learnt on Friday.

Although details of the new lesson plans are still sketchy, it is speculated that the proposed Comprehensive Sex Education lessons being developed by the Department of Basic Education would include topics such as “consent, gender and sexual diversity, self-image, genital differences and changes, body diversity and touching oneself for pleasure (masturbation).”

According to the government, the purpose of the CSE “is to ensure that we help learners build an understanding of concepts, content, values and attitudes related to sexuality, sexual behaviour change as well as leading safe and healthy lives.”

But the civil society organisations disagreed with this government view – describing the plans as “nothing less than soft porn.”

Three conservative groups – Freedom of Religion South Africa (FORSA), South African Teachers Union and the Family Policy Institute – are leading the opposition to the country’s new sex education plans.

The three organisations are calling on civil society to boycott the new curriculum, which they say would violate traditional Christian values and is dangerous to children.

The government, however, has stood its ground, strongly rejecting the civil society assertions as peddling misleading information on the CSE.

NM/jn/APA

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