Minister creates uncertainty regarding sexuality education
22 November 2019
The answers provided by the Minister of Basic Education, Ms Angie Motshekga, to parliamentary questions about the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (generally known as CSE) are either calculated and vague or she is not quite sure what is going on in her Department.
On Tuesday, she said in a written answer to a question posed by the FF Plus that there is no new curriculum and that CSE has been taught in South African schools since 2001.
Thus, she is ignoring the fact that the so-called Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (generally known as CAPS) only provide broad guidelines and that the actual content is determined by textbooks, lesson plans and class presentations.
So, introducing new lesson plans comes down to implementing a new curriculum even through CAPS remain unchanged.
In addition, CSE is an approach to sexuality education that only came under discussion for the first time in education circles in 2013 (specifically under the guidance of UNESCO).
Furthermore, the Minister declared that the so-called scripted lesson plans were tested at 1500 schools this year as part of a pilot programme. She envisions that it will be fully implemented in 2021.
In Parliament on Wednesday, the FF Plus asked unequivocally what is being planned for 2020. Her answer was that CSE will be implemented at 1500 schools as part of a pilot programme. This raises the question of what was done this past year, then?
In her written answer, Minister Motshekga also responded to the question of when the Department will consult with parents and teachers. Her response was that parents were “sensitised” by school governing bodies and that teachers were trained and are being trained.
In the FF Plus's view that is not the same as consultation. In her written answer, she did say that during 2020 opportunities will be created for the relevant parties to provide feedback. The FF Plus will keep an eye out to see if this really does happen.
Another technique of deception that the Minister employed was to create a caricature of her critics and then to criticise that. She condescendingly said that there are people out there who would rather speak of “bottoms” than “buttocks”. With that she is implying that her critics do not want to speak to children about sex at all and would rather follow the approach of "hear nothing, see nothing, say nothing".
In the FF Plus's view, what parents and other interested parties should do is to download the scripted lesson plans from the internet and decide for themselves if the CSE content meets their approval, as the Department implies. And then they should do their duty as citizens and take the appropriate action.
Issued by Wynand Boshoff, FF Plus MP and chief spokesperson: Basic Education, 22 November 2019