Teachers across the country are threatening to boycott the new sexual education curriculum changes planned for schools, that many are deeming “too graphic” for young pupils.
The South African Teachers’ Union expressed their outrage over the new content that will have learners as young as nine years old being educated about their “private parts”.
According to the Union’s CEO, Chris Klopper, the new lesson plans are targeted at “too young” pupils and could promote more sexual lifestyles.
From Grade 4, nine or ten-year-old students will be asked to engage in discussions about identifying different private parts. In Grade 5, 11-years-old students will learn about sexual orientations such as lesbian relationships as well as what defines molestation and sexual assault.
From Grade 6, children will be asked to discuss topics such as sexting and sending nude photos. From Grade 7, students will be exposed to the topic of masturbation and in Grade 8 pupils will be educated fully on all forms of intercourse including anal sex.
Some main objections to the new syllabus include that images or illustrations involved in the education materials are too graphic, these include a diagram of a young girl inserting a female condom.
The Department of Education has stated that the illustrations are far from graphic and are aimed at educating pupils. Many complaints have been received regarding the Grade 4 education and discussion of private parts, and the Department maintains that this education is necessary and will focus on respect and personal boundaries that students need to learn at this age.