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Teachers threaten to boycott new curriculum that will teach pupils all about sex, including masturbation

2019-10-28 23:45

Teachers are threatening to boycott a new school curriculum that would see them teaching pupils in Grade 7 about masturbation and require them to describe to Grade 8 pupils what happens “during vaginal, oral and anal sex”.

Parts of the new curriculum for life orientation between Grade 4 and Grade 12, which will be implemented in all schools from next year, was leaked to the media last week.

Chris Klopper, president of the SA Teacher Union (SAOU), said they were shocked and that the material was “grossly insensitive”.

They are advising teachers who do not agree with the content to boycott it.

“[If] disciplinary action is taken by the department of education, SAOU will not hesitate in assisting its members with legal assistance and protection.”

Some of the more controversial parts of the guideline include:
  • Pupils in Grade 4 learning what “private parts” are and the biological names for them. One of the activities involves 10-year-olds being split into groups and pointing out one another’s “private parts” and explaining why they think its private
  • Pupils in Grade 6 learning about the dangers of sexual content on social media. In one scenario a girl considers sending a topless photo of herself to boys on a WhatsApp group and the class is required to discuss whether it’s a good idea;
  • In Grade 7 pupils will learn about boys and girls who masturbate. “This is normal and will not hurt you,” the study guide says.
  • Pupils in Grade 8 will begin to distinguish between biological and gender identity and how it differs. They will learn about unsafe abortions. In the guide for the lesson, an hour is prescribed for descriptions of vaginal, oral and anal sex, fertilisation, the biology of pregnancy and the chances of getting it pregnant;
  • The grade 9 book has a seven-step, illustrated depiction of how a female condom should be correctly placed in position inside the vagina. There is also a compulsory group activity in which pupils learn to say “no” through role play. One character tries to convince the other to have sex, while the other is meant to turn it down while still “maintaining a positive relationship”; and
  • In grade 10 and 11 pupils will learn about the various sexual orientations; that it’s not a choice; and how to be accepting towards a transgender woman, for example, who now identifies as male.

From a very early stage, pupils will encounter case studies in which adults assault children and in Grade 5, they will be given an example of “Max”, who is sexually assaulted by other boys at their school.

They smack his butt and convince him to grab another boy’s private parts. Max immediately reports it to his teacher.

Elijah Mhlanga, spokesperson of the department of education, did not react to a request for comment.

Angie Motshekga, minister of basic education, writes in a preface guideline that government had begun to revise the curriculum as early as 2011 because the previous focus on HIV and pregnancy did not have the desired outcome.

The department strongly promotes abstinence from sex until a suitable age is attained, she writes. Pupils will still be encouraged to put off having sex.

But the curriculum had to be aligned with international standard guidelines drawn up by the UN’s education body, Unesco, in cooperation with leading experts in the field.

Klopper said this was misleading.

Earlier this year, when there were suggestions that masturbation would form part of the curriculum for Grade 4s, the SAOU held a meeting with teachers.

“The documentation and examples that were presented to us six years ago, were relatively acceptable. After studying the latest examples we are unfortunately forced to conclude that we have been deliberately misled”.

Paul Colditz, chief executive of the Federation for School Governing Bodies, was shocked.

“What we see now was not shared with us so we could obtain insights from parents and does not appear to be age-appropriate, sensitive or value-driven.”

Colditz said there would be another meeting with the department on November 27, and that a hard line would be taken.

The Christian lobby group, For SA, shared examples of the material and expressed its outrage.

In particular, they are opposed to the “normalisation” of homosexuality in the curriculum and “ideological preconceptions” with which they don’t agree.


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November 17 2019