'Sexual education ensures pupils build an understanding on sexuality, sexual behaviour'

Misleading information about comprehensive sexuality education is causing anxiety for parents, says the department of basic education. Stock photo.
Misleading information about comprehensive sexuality education is causing anxiety for parents, says the department of basic education. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/olegdudko

Teachers grapple with social, cultural and religious taboos around speaking about certain topics with young people. 

These were the words Rev Ecclesia de Lange from Inclusive & Affirming Ministries uttered during a presentation at a colloquium on comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) held in Pretoria on Monday. 

CSE has been part of the curriculum since 2000, but changes were only made in 2015 when the department developed scripted plans which are currently being tested in five provinces.

De Lange said positive aspects of tolerance, good behaviour, love and justice could be used in the diversity of CSE.

"Engaging in the CSE topics built confidence in learners to ask questions and build their own voices. CSE is the safer platform to be used to contribute an enabling environment for gender and sexuality," she said.

The core aim of the CSE is to ensure that learners build an understanding of concepts, content, values and attitudes related to sexuality, sexual behaviour as well as leading healthy lives.

De Lange said the church, faith and religion definitely has to play its part as these are the three legs that education is based on. 

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