Last year, the Department of Education made plans to include sex ed in the school curriculum. This decision was met with mixed responses from the country. Now, King Goodwill Zwelithini speaks out against sex education in primary schools.
The new sex-ed curriculum
Sex education in primary schools remains a contentious issue. The new sex-ed school curriculum will teach kids about the realities of sex. When it was announced, the news had a polarising effect in SA. Some supported it while others wanted to boycott it.
Some of the issues it will cover include: the dangers of sending nudes, consent, condoms and safe sex, sexual assault and abuse, gender identity, pregnancy and unsafe abortions. It will also address stigmas around masturbation and sexual orientation.
It doesn’t sit well with the King
King Zwelithini (King of the Zulu nation) called the curriculum an insult to parents, children and teachers, IOL reports:
‘This thing is happening at a time when we are trying to build these kids and get them on the correct and righteous path,’ he says.
‘Can you imagine a teacher who is a grandmother, a grandfather, a mother and a father to a child teaching that child about sex?… To me, as your king, this does not go down well,’ said King Zwelithini.
Hold up, is he saying that parents should not be teaching their own kids about sex?
He questioned whether parents were consulted
King Zwelithini wants to know whether parents of school kids were consulted before the decision was made.
‘Have the grandmothers, grandfathers, mother and fathers who are teachers been given an opportunity to point out that the way that they were brought up is not in line with teaching children sex at a young age?’
He points out that this curriculum is not in line with the way many parents were brought up. But maybe this is a good thing. Our parents weren’t empowered with this information, as sex education in primary schools didn’t exist before.
But this generation could be equipped with life skills. They will be confronted with situations that require knowing how to protect themselves. They can go into the world empowered.
FYI, parents and teachers are allowed to opt-out. Following backlash, the Basic Education Minister announced that parents can refuse for their children to attend the programme.
He suggests sex ed may lead to the rape of teachers
This may be the most absurd point he raises:
‘I don’t know, maybe my mind is confused but I don’t know whether they have thought it through that these children with the knowledge of what sex is before their time may want to experiment and end up raping those very teachers?’
Consent and sexual assault are part of the curriculum. So, on the contrary, kids will be educated to understand what consent means. With #AmINext and #MeToo still fresh, it’s clear that these conversations are important.
Related: How to Withdraw Consent During Sex
He points out the disparity between private and public schools
Here, he makes a valid point. The people who have the power to implement policies, he points out, often have the means to send their kids to private schools. And those schools tend to have their own international curriculums:
‘It is common for bad things to be introduced to our schools in the rural areas and in the cities while the private schools follow totally different curriculums,’ he says,
‘I have a problem with this, and something that needs to be followed up on is to check which schools the children of those wanting to implement this go to, since they want to teach our young children this.’
Follow-up is important. And the roll-out of the curriculum in under-resourced schools should be checked. Policies should also take into account the voices of the people they directly affect.
Let’s hope the government and the country can work together to equip our youth.
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