During the past few weeks the SAOU adopted an unambiguous position towards the planned implementation of the CSE methodology. The Department of Basic Education responded to the demands of the SAOU and announced in the media that the position of the SAOU as well as that of the parents and other role-players should be taken into account. The DBE announced that there might be a choice of learning materials, learning content, as well as implementation. The project, at present, is managed as a pilot, but the situation must be critically evaluated with regard to the possibility of only one set of learning materials being enforced upon all schools.
The position of the SAOU is, that the SAOU:
1. Supports age appropriate sexuality education as it has been included in the LO Curriculum since 2000.
2. Understands fully the realities underpinning sexuality education, namely, that vulnerable children must at all costs be protected from sexual exploitation; that the number of teenage pregnancies must be reduced and that learners must be able to make informed decisions regarding sexuality. Our problem is thus not with the curriculum but with the enforced use of only one set of learning materials.
3. Is not in support of sex education, specifically explicit sex education as counter measure to responsible sexuality education
4. Fervently REJECTS any DBE “one-size-fits-all” approach. This includes specifically common tasks, assignments and assessment. With this as point of departure the SAOU REJECTS prescribed lesson plans, prescriptive teacher guides and learner books and compulsory assessment which would support the comprehensive sexuality (CSE) methodology
5. Supports the autonomy of the school governing body, the school management team and the teacher. The school management team and teacher should be afforded a CHOICE on how content is presented
6. Protects the autonomy of the school management team and the teacher by demanding that more than ONE textbook should be available to offer a choice of content.
WHAT SHOULD SCHOOLS DO?
According to media releases, the Minister of Basic Education declared that the status quo will be applicable in all schools (excluding identified pilot schools)
• The SAOU recommends that schools organise a meeting with parents on the issue at the beginning of the year.
• Schools decide on the best method of delivery of the current LO content. (If you previously used an external provider to present the component, the arrangements remain as is)
• Schools still decide on the content, age and community relevance of the LO content
• Parents have the right to request that the learner not be exposed to specific content. The state cannot and may not make this type of decision on behalf of the parents.
The SAOU champions the constitutional and professional rights of its members and school communities.