In a response to a Democratic Alliance (DA) question in Parliament on Wednesday on whether the Department of Basic Education plans on formulating an alternative policy to the Comprehensive Sexual Education (CSE) for parents who choose to opt-out their children, the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga responded by stating:
“If parents want their children not to learn what other children are learning, [parents] will have to come to our schools [and] when it’s the class for that subject [CSE] come and look after their kids outside. After the class bring them back.”
The DA is flabbergasted by the Minister’s comments as it speaks to a great insensitivity to the genuine concerns of parents across the country.
In a previous response to a DA Parliamentary question, the Minister stated that parents will be able to opt-out of the curriculum provided they can have an alternative curriculum that meets the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) requirements. Now, the Minister has gone a step further by stating that parents will have to mind their children at school, during the period when the CSE is being taught.
Given the confusion and fear which exist in the public domain about the content contained in CSE material, the DA would have expected a more serious and responsible response from the Minister.
Parents and schools need to be satisfied that the level of detail included in the CSE is age appropriate and not harmful to children.
The DA is of the view that sex education must strike a careful balance between equipping young people with the information they need to make the right choices, without unintentionally over-sexualizing learners.